Afghan Security Agencies Increased Civilian Casualties in Afghanistan
Since the US-led NATO forces occupied Afghanistan in 2001, their air strikes on funerals, marriage-ceremonies and mosques, including special military operations killed thousands of civilians in Afghanistan. Therefore, previously, Afghan Government as well as the parliamentarians used to criticize the US-led NATO for the Afghan civilian causalities.
But, from 2015, Afghan security forces and secret agencies are conducting most operations themselves. Involvement of Afghan forces in civilian causalities is a matter of grave concern, making them unpopular in the eyes of their own people.
In this regard, under the caption, “Parliament demands action as civilian deaths hit record high”, Afghanistan Times wrote on September 26, 2018, “As civilian casualties hit record high in Afghanistan, Parliament called the spike in deaths a matter of ‘grave concern’, urging security agencies to ratchet up efforts to rein in the menace. The concerns are voiced a day after the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) in Afghanistan raised concerns over a drastic rise in civilian casualty toll from this year. Speaker of the Lower House Abdul Rauf Ibraimi blamed most of civilian deaths in military operations on Detachment 1 of the 1st Special Operations Group. Ibrahimi referred to recent protests of families of martyrs in front of the Parliament to urge the government and its security apparatus to follow a good pattern to protect civilians. Parliamentarians too turned the heat up on the 1st Detachment, saying the conduct of the unit with civilians during raids were lawless, which caused harm to people. Lawmaker Obaidullah Barekzai lashed out at coalition airstrikes in volatile regions and contended that the U.S. forces bombed areas in Nangarhar, Laghman, Kapisa and Maidan Wardak provinces in last two weeks, killing and hurting tens of civilians including women, children. Criticizing government silence regarding civilian casualties during airstrike, he asked relevant organs to stop civilian casualties. Complaints came about casualties while recently…UNAMA expresses its concern about the rising number of civilian casualties from airstrikes this year in Afghanistan, with credible reports of the latest incident occurring in Kapisa province.”
Afghanistan Times added, “In a statement UNAMA said that it received multiple, credible allegations that on 22 September, aerial ordnance impacted the home of a teacher in the Budrab area of Tagab district, Kapisa province, killing nine civilians, including four children and three women, with several others injured. All the victims from the attack were from the same family, including grandparents and children aged between two and twelve. Five of the six other family members who were injured when their home was destroyed were women and young children. Also UNAMA in its preliminary findings indicate that 12 civilians were killed Sunday in an airstrike in Maidan Wardak province during operations conducted by Pro-Government Forces in the area. Ten of those killed were children whose ages ranged from 6 to 15. Eight were girls. In the first six months of the year, UNAMA documented 353 civilian casualties (149 deaths and 204 injured) from aerial attacks, a 52 per cent increase from the same period in 2017. It is of particular concern that women and children made up more than half of all aerial attack civilian casualties. The Mission attributed 52 per cent of all civilian casualties from aerial attacks to the Afghan Air Force, 45 percent to international military forces, and the remaining three per cent to unidentified Pro-Government Forces. Around seven per cent of all civilian casualties in the Afghan conflict in the first half of the year were attributed to air operations. Since the release of UNAMA’s 2018 mid-year Protection of Civilians Report, the Mission has continued to record increasing numbers of civilian casualties caused by airstrikes.”
It is notable that campaign for Afghanistan’s parliamentary elections to be held in Afghanistan on October 20, this year, continues, despite a wave of deadly violence across the country and allegations of fraud.
In this respect, on October 2, 2018, “The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) expressed its concern around the level of violence early in the campaigning period for the 20 October parliamentary elections, including intimidation and attacks against candidates, their agents and supporters. The Mission condemns today’s [October 2, 2018] most serious incident that killed at least 14 civilians and wounded a further 42 when a suicide attacker struck at a campaign rally in Nangarhar. Since campaigning formally commenced on 28 September, there have been several attacks resulting in the killing of a candidate and three security guards of another candidate, as well as the shooting of a further candidate’s agent and son.” UNAMA “urges all actors to halt all violence and intimidation against candidates and voters….I am outraged by attacks deliberately targeting civilians seeking to exercise their basic right to participate in elections, said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan…This violence, including today’s reprehensible attack in Nangarhar, is an assault on the constitutional rights of the people of Afghanistan…Today’s suicide attack appears to have deliberately targeted a crowd gathered at an electoral campaign event.”
The Islamic State group (Also known as ISIS, ISIL and Daesh) which accepted responsibility for previous and recent terrorism related attacks in Afghanistan also claimed responsibility for the suicide attack on election-campaign rally of October 2, 2018, via its Amaq news agency.
It is mentionable that on August 10, this year, Taliban fighters attacked the Ghazni city of Afghanistan, killing at least 14 police officers and wounded dozens before the US-supported Afghan forces pushed them out of the city after a few days.
Afghan high officials revived the old blame game against Pakistan by accusing the security agencies of Pakistan regarding the Ghazni terror attack. Indian media also availed the opportunity and manipulated the Taliban attack against Pakistan.
In fact, prior to the visit of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Islamabad, both India and Afghanistan wanted to spoil positive development between Pakistan and the United States.
However, regarding Ghazni terror attack, the spokesman of the Foreign Office (FO) of Pakistan, Dr Muhammad Faisal said: “We have not received any evidence to back up these spurious accusations and reject these baseless allegations made by Afghan officials and others.”
It is noteworthy that since the occupation of Afghanistan by the US-led NATO forces, the country has become center of the intelligence agencies such as CIA, RAW and Mossad which are in connivance to obtain the covert designs of the their countries and some Western countries against Russia, China and Pakistan, including Iran. Under the cover of fighting terrorism, these foreign agencies which are also in collaboration with the Afghan Afghan intelligence agency National Directorate of Security (NDS), support the militants of ISIS and Afghanistan-based Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), including their linked outfits which have been conducting terror-assaults in Afghanistan and Pakistan as part of the secret strategy of the US-led countries. Besides, these terrorist outfits are weakening Tibetan regions of China and Iranian Sistan-Baluchistan through subversive activities.
When any terror attack occurs in Afghanistan, Afghan government revives old blame game against Pakistan.
On May 31, 2017, a massive truck bombing of the Afghan capital’s diplomatic section killed more than 150 people and injured hundreds of others, including foreigners. It was the deadliest terror attack in the 16-year-old conflict.
Taliban denied responsibility for the terror attack. But, Afghanistan’s intelligence service accused the Haqqani network by saying that a Taliban-affiliated group in Pakistan, carried out the attack. Addressing the conference-the “Kabul Process on Peace and Security Cooperation”, held in Kabul on June 6, 2017, which was attended by representatives from 26 countries and international organizations, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani alleged that Taliban insurgents are using sanctuaries on Pakistani soil to wage the insurgency in Afghanistan.
In the same speech, President Ghani offered peace talks to the Afghan Taliban. But, a Taliban spokesman rejected Ghani’s offer of a peace dialogue by stating that it is another attempt to endorse and to prolong foreign occupation of Afghanistan.
During the same conference, a powerful bomb went off at a main mosque in the western city of Herat, killing at least 10 people. Again, Taliban spokesman denied its involvement in connection with the explosion.
On the other side, Pakistan’s special Corps Commander Conference took the stern notice of Afghanistan’s allegations and threats and vowed to defend the country with full forces.
According to the press release of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), issued on June 6, 2017, the “Special Corps Commanders Conference presided over by Chief of the Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa called for Afghanistan to introspect and not allege Pakistan of sponsoring terrorism…the conference reviewed the security situation…Strongly condemning the Kabul blast…meeting has expressed complete solidarity with Afghan government…instead of blaming Pakistan, Afghanistan needs to look forward and identify the real issues…Armed forces will defend the country from each challenge and will continue work to establish peace in the region.”
ISPR statement further reported that the meeting reaffirming continued support to regional peace and stability, the forum reiterated military’s resolve to defend the motherland against all types of threat.
It is worth-mentioning that the armed forces of Pakistan have successfully broken the backbone of the foreign-backed terrorists by the successful military operations Zarb-e-Azb and Radd-ul-Fasaad which have also been extended to other parts of the country, including Balochistan. And Pakistan’s primarily intelligence agency, ISI has broken the network of these terrorist groups by capturing several militants, while thwarting a number of terror attempts.
Besides, since the government of the Balochistan province announced general pardon and protection to the Baloch militants as part of reconciliation process, many insurgents and their leaders have surrendered their arms and decided to work for the development of Pakistan and peace has been restored in Balochistan.
Peace has also been restored in Karachi and other provinces of Pakistan, including the tribal areas. But, in the recent past and during the election-campaign of 2019, blasts in Balochistan and other regions of the country showed that the US-led India, Afghanistan and Israel have again started acts of sabotage especially to destabilize Pakistan and to damage the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Notably, there are many outfits of the Taliban. A majority of Taliban is fighting a war of liberation against the occupying forces. The US-led NATO has failed in their fight against the Afghan Taliban. Therefore, main purpose especially of America is to accuse Pakistan of cross-border terrorism in Afghanistan in order to pacify its public in connection with the endless war in that country. Now, particularly CIA is also behind various terror attacks in Afghanistan, conducted by the ISIS and similar terror groups.
As regards the terrorism-related incidents inside Afghanistan, by availing the continued lawlessness in that country, India, Israel and the Afghan Government want to prolong the stay of the US-led NATO forces there and are using the militant outfits like ISIS and TTP to create further unrest there, while shifting the blame game towards Islamabad. In this connection, especially RAW, Mossad and the NDS are in collaboration. They have also kidnapped and killed many civilians in Afghanistan.
Undoubtedly, we can conclude that Afghan security agencies have increased civilian casualties in Afghanistan, while the above mentioned foreign intelligence agencies have also added to these casualties.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations