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Halt arming abusive uprising forces, HRW tells govt

Halt arming abusive uprising forces, HRW tells govt

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Feb 16, 2016 - 12:24

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): As peace efforts are gaining momentum, a senior Human Rights Watch (HRW) official has asked the Talibaninfo-icon to stop targeting civilians, including aid workers and civil servants.

In its latest six-monthly report, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistaninfo-icon (UNAMA) said civilian deaths and injuries in 2015 hit an all-time high since 2009.

The mission noted a 37 percent rise in casualties among womenand a 14 percent increase among children. In 2015, one in four victims of the armed conflict was a child.

Members of civil societyinfo-icon, particularly journalists, and other media workers were also attacked by the Taliban,who showed contempt for the most fundamental principle of international humanitarian law, the UN alleged.

Patricia Gossman, HRW researcher on Afghanistan, said if the Taliban wanted to be seen as serious about seeking peace, they should state unequivocally they would no longer target civilians as defined by the laws of war.

In a dispatch, she wrote the Afghan government should also take substantive measures to limit the use of artillery, bombs and other weapons with wide explosive effects in populated areas.

She urged the government to stop arming militias, including national uprising forces, which fell outside the regular chain of command. With a dismal record of abuse, themilitias have exacerbated tensions rather than provide security for civilians.

“Unless both sides take urgently needed corrective measures, the next UNAMA report for the first six months of 2016 will likely reflect an even higher toll of civilian suffering,” Gossman warned.

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