Measures being taken to reduce civilian casualties: RS
KABUL (Pajhwok): Following report by United Nations Assistance Mission (UNAMA) in Afghanistan that Afghan conflict continued to exact a heavy toll on Afghan civilians in the first six months of 2015, the Resolute Support (RS) mission reassured to continue to take great measures to reduce possibility of civilian casualties.
A statement from the RS mission on Wednesday said that RS leaders reviewed the UNAMA Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict midyear report. “We remain dedicated to our mission to Train, Advise, and Assist (TAA) our Afghan National Defense and Security Force (ANDSF) partners as they protect the Afghan people and together do everything possible to limit civilian casualties.”
The UNAMA report said that anti-government elements continued to cause the most harm despite a slight reduction in total civilian casualties.
It said that civilian deaths and injuries caused by pro-government forces caused 16 per cent of civilian casualties (15 per cent from Afghan National Security Forces and Pro-Government Militia and one per cent from International Military Forces).
UNAMA attributed approximately 1% of all Afghan civilian casualties to international military forces, a reduction since the report published in February.
“We remain committed to training and advising the ANDSF as they work to limit civilian casualties. Efforts include continuing to refine training for security forces on the use of force and strengthening rules of engagement, as well as Afghan Air Force command-directed weekly civilian casualty avoidance training for pilots,” the statement added.
The statement said recalled that in June 2015, the Defense Institute of International Legal Studies conducted a one-week law of armed conflict and civilian casualty avoidance workshop for both the Afghan Air Force and ANDSF professionals.
Additionally, there are now approximately 350 explosive ordnance disposal teams within the Afghan forces. This year alone, the ANDSF has reported clearing approximately 5,000 improvised explosive devices nationwide that were developed and planted by anti-government elements (AGE).
By contrast, the Taliban and other AGE continue to display complete disregard for human life. In this report, UNAMA attributed nearly 70% of all civilian casualties directly to anti-government elements.
“We echo UNAMA’s call to take all possible precautions to prevent civilian casualties and, where appropriate, we will work to implement UNAMA’s recommendations into our TAA mission, in addition to the robust measures already in place. We also remain committed to working with the Afghan government and security forces in their efforts to reduce civilian casualties,” the statement concluded.
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