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Shocking surge in violence inflicts massive toll on Afghans

Figures compiled by Anadolu Agency suggest at least 100 civilians got killed in current month

Shadi Khan Saif   | 13.07.2019
Shocking surge in violence inflicts massive toll on Afghans

KABUL, Afghanistan 

Figures compiled by Anadolu Agency suggest a devastating surge in violence across Afghanistan which have claimed at least 100 civilian lives in the current month. 

As the warring sides across Afghanistan engage in an apparent deadly push for upper hand amid the proposed peace deal between the U.S. and the Taliban, civilians are made to bore the brunt of human and material loss.

Heartbroken Masehur Rehman, 38-year-old resident of Maidan Wardak province, is one of many unfortunate Afghans who still survive the raging war, but could not save their loved-ones from its cruel clutches.

Rehman said he lost all of his family -- wife, four daughters, three sons and nieces -- in one night’s dreadful air raid by the pro-Government forces last week.

“I will continue to seek justice, the killing of civilians is still going on in the far-flung remote areas,” said the tall Afghan man wearing traditional turban, with pain and helplessness evident in his exhausted eyes.

The Ministry of Defense has vowed to investigate the incident.

In the same province, a foreign charity-run public hospital was targeted in a ground raid by the Special Forces in Day Mirdad district, killing at least four staffers, the provincial administration confirmed earlier this week.

Condemning the incident, Human Rights Watch (HRW) highlighted the grimness of the situation in the war-ravaged country.

According to a statement by HRW, the security forces “entered the clinic and killed a family caregiver and then detained and bound staff and family members accompanying patients”.

“They then separated four people for questioning – the clinic’s director, a lab worker, a guard, and a family caregiver. All except the director were later found dead from gunshots,” it said.

“Attacks on medical facilities challenge the very foundations of the laws of war, and will persist if those responsible go unpunished,” stressed Patricia Gossman, HRW’s associate Asia director.

“It’s imperative for the Afghan government to prosecute the commanders who ordered the killings as well as the soldiers who pulled the trigger,” she added.

On July 11, the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan (SCA), a humanitarian organization that runs the clinic, described the incident as a “shocking violation” of international humanitarian law and said that “such outrageous use of force against civilians and health facilities constitutes a serious violation of applicable international humanitarian law”.

- Suicide bombers target residential areas

The month’s maiden deadly assault causing civilian casualties came from the Taliban in the form of a suicide car bombing, followed by gun fight close to a Ministry of Defense facility in a residential area of the capital Kabul.

On July 1, at least 10 people were killed and more than 50 children were injured in the attack. Later, scores of more school children got injured and two of them lost their lives in a similar attack on July 7 in Ghazni province of the conflict-ridden country.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Abdullah, a Ghazni resident, said the kids are too frightened to visit schools now.

“On that day [July 07, 2019], I heard the blast close to our home, and moments later saw one of my son returning home terrified. I thought the school was closed half day for security reasons, but upon looking closely I saw my son stained with blood from different parts of his body. He is fine now, but too scared to go back to school,” he said.

Suhail Shaheen, one of the Taliban’s spokesman, told local Tolo News, the attacks that caused harm to the children would be “investigated”.

The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan documented a total of 1,773 civilian casualties (581 deaths and 1,192 injured), including 582 child casualties (150 deaths and 432 injured) between January 1 and March 31 this year.

This was the first time since the UNAMA started keeping records that the civilian casualties caused by the pro-government forces surpassed those caused by the Taliban insurgents and other anti-government forces.

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