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Ghani says civilian casualties not acceptable

By Farhad Naibkhel

KABUL: Following recent claims of civilian casualties in pro-government forces military operations, and US airstrikes in different provinces, President Ashraf Ghani on Wednesday said civilian casualties were “not acceptable” and has ordered the security officials to take preventive steps to bring the level of civilian casualties to zero.

Speaking at a gathering of the politicians at the Presidential Palace, President Ghani continued that “civilian casualty is not acceptable by no means for the National Unity Government (NUG) leadership and security bosses, if it be one person or several.”

President declared that government was “taking every claim of civilian casualties serious and investigated each report in the aspect released since many years” and after nearly every incident security official “were given order to launch comprehensive” investigation and to take prevention measures to avoid such incidents in the future.

Always attempts took place to prevent civilian casualties and the recent reports regarding civilian casualties will be taken seriously, he added.

Ghani said he has ordered the military officials to take every possible steps and preventive measures to “bring civilian casualties to zero” and “avoid attacking those targets where it has possibility of even a single civilian casualty.”

He said to have directed the security officials to delay the operation in case the militants hide in civilian populated areas and even to cancel the raids and strikes if there is the possibility of “even a single civilian casualty.”

Ghani’s remarks on civilian casualties came in a while that in recent weeks report regarding civilian casualties has made headline in media outlets in Helmand, Jalalabad and Ghazni provinces. According to report tens of civilian casualties reported during pro-government air and ground operations in Helmand, Jalalabad and Ghazni volatile provinces.

At least 13 civilians have been killed after an air attack targeted a passenger minibus in Ghazni province, residents claimed.

The incident took place early Tuesday in the Andar district, according to residents who said the attack came from a military helicopter. The residents could not identify if it was a US helicopter or it belonged to Afghan air force. They said that the victims were residents of different areas of Andar district.

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