Civilian casualties up by 3pc in Helmand: Rights watchdog
LASGHKARGAH (Pajhwok): More than 700 civilians have suffered casualties in the past one year in southern Helmand province, the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) said on Thursday.
AIHRC official Mohammad Bilal Siddiqui told a press conference here insecurity had been increased in the province, with 734 civilians suffering casualties since March, 2015.
The figure shows a three percent increase over the previous year. Twenty-four children and 29 women were among the 232 civilians killed. At least 502 people, including 167 children and 50 women, were wounded.
He feared the casualties might rise further by the end of the current Afghan year, March 21, 2016. Some of the civilians were killed and wounded during clashes and bombings.
The rest were killed as a result of blasts after clashes, he said. In order to minimise the collateral damage, a serious issue over the years, the official urged the Taliban not to plant bombs on roads.
“Sometimes, tribal elders and influential figures are targeted against the rules of war,” he noted, asking all parties to the conflict to pay more attention to the safety of civilians.
But the governor’s spokesman, Omar Zwak, denied the remarks of the AIHRC’s provincial head, saying the commission had exaggerated numbers of civilian casualties in Helmand.
Over the past three months, nearly 50 civilians were killed or wounded by Taliban-planted roadside bombs. Security forces have devised plans for protecting civilians, he concluded.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.