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Editorial: Avert civilian casualties

All parties engaged in Afghanistan conflicts must ward off civilian casualties. Killing civilian is an unforgivable act, and can’t be justified by any laws around the world. In general, a civilian is a person who is not a member of military or of a police or firefighting forces. However, it seems that civilians were not protected in Helmand offensive. The provincial council chief confirmed the killing of 20 civilians in foreign forces’ airstrike. There is no place where civilians are safe from such atrocity.

Responding to the claim, the Resolute Support (RS) said that they are investigating the incident in the Sangin district of the province. RS said that US forces conducted an airstrike in the district in past 24 hours to support and defend Afghan forces.

However, 215th Military Corps of the Afghan National Army confirmed civilian casualties, but said that Taliban incurred civilian causalities. According to them, when Taliban came under immense pressure they use civilians as their shield.

With dozens of civilians killed or wounded and more than hundreds other people displaced, still the conflict continues to affect lives in record numbers, and no end sees insight.

Civilian casualties in Afghanistan in 2016 were the highest recorded by the United Nations, the agency said, with nearly 11,500 non-combatants—one—third of them children—killed or wounded.

The leading cause of civilian casualties is the ongoing fight between security forces and the militants, especially in populated areas.

Only in 2016, at least 127 civilians were killed and 108 injured as a result of air raids by international warplanes, while the Afghan air forces accounted for at least 85 death and 167 injuries.

But 61 percent of all civilian casualties were caused by the opposition armed groups. The UN attributed at least 4,953 deaths and injuries to the Taliban, but in a shift for 2016, investigators documented a 10-fold increase in casualties caused by the Islamic State, which is also known as Daesh terrorist group.

This shows the heart-rending and prolonged suffering of civilians in Afghanistan, who continue to bear the brunt of casualties.

The climate of fear has been created among Afghans as they live in insecurity and uncertainty in every area. Civilians can’t roam freely even in Kabul, the capital city. Recently more than 20 people killed and over 40 wounded after a suicide bomber targeted Supreme Court employees. Civilians are the worst victim. The Afghan and foreign security forces should exercise extreme caution to protect civilians while carrying out operations, reciprocally the militant outfits.

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