40 kids among 242 civilians killed in Helmand
LASHKARGAH (Pajhwok): Thousands of civilians and security forces suffered casualties in violence related incidents during the past one and a half years in southern Helmand province, officials said on Saturday.
Abdullah Khaliqi, the oversight section head at the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC)’s regional office in Helmand, told reporters here that the ongoing conflict had killed 242 civilians and injured another 828 during the past one year in the province.
He said the dead included 40 children, 26 women and 176 men and the injured included 353 children, 169 women and 306 men, showing a 35 percent increase in civilian casualties over last year’s 715 killed and wounded.
He said these civilians suffered casualties as a result of clashes between government forces and Taliban militants, roadside bomb blasts and similar incidents of violence.
The rights official urged all parties to the conflict exercise a special care for civilians during their operations.
Omar Zwak, the provincial government spokesman, told Pajhwok Afghan News that 60 civilians suffered casualties during the past three months alone in Helmand.
He said he had no exact figures for casualties among security forces during the past three months, saying figures of only civilians casualties had been collected so far.
But a reliable security source told Pajhwok Afghan News that 3,500 security personnel had suffered casualties during the outgoing solar year in Helmand.
He said 640 national police and 232 Afghan local police personnel had been killed and 1001 police and 160 local police men wounded during the year.
“The rest of the casualties belong to other security organs, mostly the Afghan National Army, but I have no exact figures about them,” the source said.
Other security organs refused to comment on casualties among their forces.
Bashir Ahmad Shakir, the provincial council’s security committee member, said both the government and the insurgents were responsible for civilian casualties in Helmand.
“The Taliban hide in people’s homes and attack security forces from there and when security forces return fire, civilians get killed and wounded,” he said, urging both the sides to avoid clashes near residential homes.
Currently, the Taliban are in control of Baghran, Dishu, Musa Qala, Khanshin and Nawzad districts of Helmand.
The rebels have laid siege to Marja district over the past four months and have been engaged in clashes with security forces in several other areas.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.