Baghlan residents call for ceasefire as civilians suffer
KABUL (Pajhwok): Civil society activists on Thursday claimed some 800 civilians suffered casualties and thousands more were diplaced by weeks of clashes between security forces and Taliban militants in northern Baghlan province, calling for a ceasefire.
They told a press conference in Kabul orchards were cut down and houses, schools, clinics and mosques were destroyed in in airstrikes as part of the operations against Taliban, displacing 17000 families.
“We are in very bad conditions. The ongoing bombardments are claiming the lives of civilians,” a resident of Dand-i-Shahabuddin area, Khairullah Shinwari, told the press conference.
Flanked by other civil society activists, Shinwari said the law of war and human rights had been violated during the clashes entering a third week in Dand-i-Shahabuddin, Dand-i-Ghori and Markazi Baghlan districts.
At least 135 civilians, including 40 women and children, had been killed and more than 650 civilians wounded in the gunbattles, he claimed, saying nearly 30,000 families were trapped in their homes.
He said the 17,000 families had been displaced to Khaja Alwan desert on the outskirts of Pul-i-Khumri and they were in urgent need of assistance.
A lecturer at the Kabul University, Faiz Mohammad Zaland, said “genocide” was underway in Baghlan where human rights were widely violated. He asked the government to stop the mass killing of civilians in Baghlan and take urgent measures to stop the war there.
Nearly 30 participants of the press conference issued a resolution that read: “The respected people of Baghlan especially of Dand-i-Ghori, Markazi Baghlan and Dand-i-Shahabuddin are burning in flames of the war.”
It said no standards, human rights and law were considered in the war that was ongoing over the past few months. The letter called for a ceasefire, humanitarian assistance, safely of welfare projects and public properties. It urged an end to murder and arrest of ordinary people and searching of civilian houses.
However, Baghlan Governor Abdul Satar Barez rejected the claims as baseless, saying 130 militants including their eight commanders had so far been killed during the operations. Another 95 militants including Pakistani rebels were wounded during three weeks of the operations.
Deputy public health director in Baghlan Dr. Abdul Aleem Ghafari said they had received during the past three weeks two dead bodies and four injured personnel of the Afghan National Army.
He said 20 injured civilians including three children and a woman had been brought to the hospital during the period from the affected areas.
Baghlan refugee director Mohammad Naeem Kakar said the conflict had displaced 120 families who had been delivered humanitarian aid.
He said 70 families had moved to the provincial capital and 50 to Kakar mound near the provincial capital. He said a survey was underway to know the exact number of displaced families.
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