Afghanistan upgrades efforts for civilians’ security

Kabul, July 26 (IANS) The Afghanistan government on Tuesday announced it will step up efforts to ensure protection of civilians as violence is constantly rising in the country since the withdrawal of foreign forces in late 2014.

UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan on Monday reported that the civilians casulties have reached a record-high in the first half of the year since 2009, Xinhua news agency reported.

“Between January and June, the Human Rights team of UNAMA documented 1,601 civilian deaths and 3,565 injured. This represents an increase of four per cent in the casualties compared to the first six months of 2015 — and is the highest half-year total since 2009,” UNAMA report said.

“Afghan government is committed to implementing its obligations as enshrined in the Constitution concerning protection of civilians, and has made them an integral part of the conduct of the Security and Defence Forces of the country,” the Presidential Palace said in a statement.

In the report, the UN Office attributed 60 per cent of civilian casualties to anti-government militants. However, it also noted an increase in the number of civilians killed and injured by pro-government forces in the first half of the year.

The security forces were responsible for some 1,180 civilian casualties over the period, said the report.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has ordered the security forces to place protection of civilians on top of their priorities, said the statement.

“Afghan people and history will never forget the terrorists’ crimes, and it is our commitment to take the perpetrators to court and ensure justice,” Ghani said in the statement.

“The government has finalised the policy on protection of civilians, and as UNAMA has recommended in the report, will soon have it passed,” the statement noted.

After the release of the report, Save the Children, an international agency working for safety of children, also called for protection of children in the war-torn country.

“These findings are truly shocking, and represent a significant backtrack on progress for Afghan children,” Ana Locsin, Director of Save the Children in Afghanistan, said in a statement on Monday.

Locsin said the Save the Children condemns any attacks on children and urges all parties to make sure the protection of civilians, especially children, a priority.



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