KABUL: Officials in the mountainous province of Ghor in the center of the country say that civilian casualties have increased 35 per cent there since a February peace agreement between the United States and Taliban under which the latter pledged to reduce violence.
Aref Shadan, head of the provincial human rights commission, said on Monday that clashes between Taliban and government forces had intensified since the US-Taliban peace deal.
“The number of civilian casualties reached to 29 in June with 16 killed and 13 wounded. Women and children were also included. Taliban are responsible for most of the casualties. This shows a 35 per cent increase in civilian casualties in the province comparing to May,” Shadan said.
He denounced killing of civilians as “war crime”, calling on the war parties to take care of civilian lives.
Mohammad Mohsen Hakimi, a civil society activist, said that 22 government forces were killed and 40 more injured in clashes with Taliban in the past month. He said that Taliban have control on the roads and have started extortions from passengers.
“While Taliban made peace with the US and pledged for reduction in violence, but they have increased violence recently. There are clashes in every point of Ghor province. Taliban attacks district centers every night. We have a significant increase in security forces’ casualties,” Hakimi said.
“Taliban had attacks recently on the security forces, clashes have casualties, but we do not have data. I can say that we have had casualties and Taliban had also have,” said Mohammad Aref Aber, provincial spokesman.
Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, a spokesman of Taliban rejected reports of civilian casualties by the group fighters, accusing government forces of killing and injuring of innocent people.