Nearly 29,000 Afghan civilians killed in past decade, report says

In this, Jan. 12, 2020, file photo, a young Afghan refugee peers from her temporary home after a snowstorm at a camp on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan. (AP)
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Updated 05 February 2020

Nearly 29,000 Afghan civilians killed in past decade, report says

  • More than 80,000 casualties were reported among non-combatants in the past decade alone

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.


Sanofi offers 100 million doses of hydroxychloroquine in coronavirus fight

Updated 32 min 36 sec ago

Sanofi offers 100 million doses of hydroxychloroquine in coronavirus fight

  • Proposals to put hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine to use immediately for more patients have proven highly controversial

PARIS: French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi said Friday it would offer 100 million doses of hydroxychloroquine, a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, to governments worldwide if studies show it can safely to be used to treat COVID-19 patients.
Both hydroxychloroquine, which Sanofi sells under the brand name Plaquenil, and the related compound chloroquine, an anti-malarial drug, are being studied worldwide as potential weapons in the coronavirus fight.
But proposals to put them to use immediately for more patients have proven highly controversial, with many experts warning there is not yet enough evidence of their safety or effectiveness against COVID-19.
A French doctor in particular, Didier Raoult, has raised hopes by treating patients with a combination of hydroxychloroquine (HQC) and the antibiotic azithromycin, an initiative that many health officials refuse to endorse in the absence of more rigorous studies.
On Thursday, French President Emmanuel Macron met Raoult and his team in Marseille to discuss their latest findings, though the president did not comment publicly on the meeting afterward.
Sanofi acknowledged that “interpretations of the available preliminary data on hydroxychloroquine in the management of COVID-19 differ widely.
“While hydroxychloroquine is generating a lot of hope for patients around the world, it should be remembered that there are no results from ongoing studies, and the results may be positive or negative.”
But chief executive Paul Hudson said in a statement, “If the trials prove positive, we hope our donation will play a critical role for patients.”
Other companies have also pledged to offer the drugs, with Switzerland’s Novartis proposing 130 million doses of chloroquine, and Israeli generic producer Teva promising 10 million doses of HQC for US hospitals.
Sanofi is also working on a potential vaccine for the new coronavirus, which has killed more than 94,000 people worldwide since cases were first reported in China last December.