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Editorial: Bring to a standstill

It is very visible to see that civilians are the most victims in war-hit countries around the world. Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan are countries that civilians are more prone to causalities than any other counter in the surface of this planet. In the status-quo, civilians’ are most victims even in peaceful states like some European countries and Turkey.

In Afghanistan, men, women, children, and elders are bearing the brunt of causalities in the ongoing conflict, where no end sees insight. The causalities must be bringing to a standstill.

The United Nation Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) on Monday issued its annual report recording the highest ever number of civilian casualties in a single year, including record figures for children killed and injured in 2016.

The report documents 11,418 conflict-related civilian casualties, including 3,498 killed and 7,920 injured. Of these, 3,512 were children – 923 dead and 2,589 injured, up 24 percent on the previous highest recorded figure. The figures, recorded by (UNAMA), are the highest since the UN began systematically documenting civilian casualty figures in 2009. The killing and maiming of thousands of Afghan civilians is deeply harrowing and largely preventable.

According to report, Anti-Government forces, mainly the Taliban, were responsible for almost two thirds of the casualties while pro-Government forces were responsible for almost one quarter. However, the killing of innocent people is not justifiable by any law and group.

The report also documents the increase in attacks perpetrated by Daesh/ISKP (Islamic State Khorasan Province), particularly targeting Shia Muslims. UNAMA documented 899 civilian casualties (209 deaths and 690 injured), a ten-fold increase from last year. The majority of the casualties caused by Daesh/ISKP occurred in three large-scale attacks on the Shia Muslim community.

All parties to conflict must take immediate concrete measures to protect the ordinary Afghan men, women and children whose lives are being shattered.

The principle cause for the ongoing conflict is the support of some neighboring countries to the militant outfits aimed at continuing war in Afghanistan that leads into casualties. At somehow, poor governance, including entrenched patronage system and corruption, and a weak rule of law is another reason behind ongoing conflicts.

The surge in civilian causalities is due to a shift in the insurgents tactics in fight against Afghan security forces.  Militants in 2016 year came to the fore with more ground fighting and deliberate attacks on schools, homes and bazaars.  Moreover, remnants of explosives weapons littering the ground outside homes and stress where children play pose a particular danger to them. Children are also the worst victims of the Improvised Explosive Device (IED).

All parties engaged in Afghanistan’s conflict must understand that civilians are the innocent people of this land and they’re protection is a duty of both—Afghan security forces and the militant outfits.

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