The Afghan Senate, the Meshrano Jirga, on Tuesday underlined the need for serious attention to be paid during military operations to reduce the high civilian casualty toll, saying that it will affect people’s trust in government if the situation continues.
The lawmakers made the remarks in reaction to the death of nine civilians in a joint night raid by Afghan and foreign forces in Kapisa and in reaction to the deaths of more civilians in another operation in Maidan Wardak this week.
“The operations are still ongoing. They were carried out in Jaghato (district in Wardak) and Kapisa province. Our innocent people were killed in the operations,” said Ghairat Bahir, a lawmaker.
“Those who were leading the operations, either from NATO forces or from the Afghan forces, should be investigated,” said Mohammad Hanif Hanafi, a Senator.
Meanwhile, the Meshrano Jirga Speaker Abdul Hadi Muslimyar said there is a need for accuracy in military operations.
“Such blindly conducted operations which result in killing of children, students and women, are not acceptable,” he said.
This comes after the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) expressed its concern over the increased number of civilian casualties from airstrikes this year in the country.
In the first six months of the year, UNAMA documented 353 civilian casualties – 149 deaths and 204 injuries – from aerial attacks, a 52 percent increase from the same period in 2017.
UNAMA attributed 52 percent of all civilian casualties from aerial attacks to the Afghan forces, 45 percent to international military forces, and the remaining three percent to unidentified pro-government forces.
Around seven percent 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, UNAMA has continued to record increasing numbers of civilian casualties caused by airstrikes.
On Monday, Kapisa officials said at least 10 civilians had been killed in a foreign forces operation in Tagab district on Sunday night.
Mahfoz Safi, the provincial council’s deputy chief, said the incident occurred on Sunday night in the Badrab village during a foreign forces operation against Taliban and as a result civilians were killed.
According to Safi, children and women were also among the victims and three others were wounded in the incident. He said that all the victims were residents of the area.
However, on Monday night Resolute Support rejected the claims of civilian casualties and said the airstrike targeted a local mobilization militia.
“We have no indication of non-combatant casualties,” said Grant Neeley, a spokesman for US Forces in Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, the Kapisa provincial governor’s spokesman confirmed an operation was carried out in Tagab district but did not confirm the killing of civilians.