KABUL: Afghanistan’s warring sides were accused of failing to obey international law on Tuesday, after estimates showed that 28,979 civilians had lost their lives in the past decade due to the ongoing war in the country.
A report released by Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) shows that more than 80,000 casualties were reported among non-combatants in the past decade alone.
“Findings by AIHRC indicate that 86,823 civilians, including women and children, were harmed by the conflict between 2009-2019 (with 28,979 killed, and 57,844 injured),” the report said, adding that the high number of civilian casualties “indicate all sides’ failure to comply with international humanitarian law.”
Locked in more than four decades of war, involving both regional and international powers, Afghanistan has seen hundreds of thousands of its civilians killed, and several million leave to seek refuge elsewhere.
The AIHRC, however, says that there were fewer casualties among civilians in 2019 compared to the previous year.
Mohammad Nayeem Nazari, deputy head of AIHRC, said that 2,293 civilians were killed last year, urging the Taliban to allow members of the commission to travel to its controlled areas to investigate the actual number of civilian casualties.
Roadside bombs, suicide attacks, ground battles, rocket fire, airstrikes and night raids were the major causes of civilian deaths, the statement said.
“The Taliban is responsible for 71 percent of all civilian casualties in 2019. Daesh (Daesh) is responsible for five percent, while, Afghan and international forces are responsible for 14 percent of civilian casualties. The perpetrators of nine percent of civilian casualties are unknown,” excerpts from the statement said, adding that 485 civilians had been killed in air strikes by foreign forces last year alone.
Last week, US Central Command released a report saying that US war planes had dropped 7,423 bombs and ordinance in 2019 in Afghanistan, showing a drastic increase in the scale of attacks compared to any other period in recent years, and despite Washington’s continued talks with the Taliban to end the conflict.
The UN and human rights groups have repeatedly expressed concerns over the increase in air raids across the country by US and Afghan forces, saying far more non-combatants were killed in such raids compared to those killed in Taliban attacks.