KABUL: Citing the recent statement of the United Nations over the civilian casualties in Afghanistan, the Presidential Palace termed civilian protection as its top priority, underlining the importance of ceasefire.
“Civilian’s casualties are unacceptable,” said Presidential Spokesman Dawa Khan Minapal. “We are committed to take urgent steps to protect our people against enemies’ attacks and coronavirus.”
The UN Assistant Mission in Afghanistan in a statement said that over 500 civilians were killed and around 760 others wounded during the first quarter of 2020. According to the report, at least 150 children are among the deaths. The statement blamed the Taliban for the majority of casualties.
But the militant group’s spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid has turned down the statement, saying that the UN Mission has not covered the casualties inflicted on civilians by the Afghan and foreign forces.
The Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission has expressed concerns on the very number of civilian casualties published by United Nations.
An official of the commission, Zabiullah Farhang said that civilians have been suffering heavy casualties, as the attacks have been continuing even after the US-Taliban peace deal signed in February 29th in the Gulf state of Qatar.
“We call on the conflict sides to respect civilian rights,” he said. “Based on high number of civilian casualties, all sides should stop fighting and give us and other organizations a positive response.”
This as the Taliban had earlier denied the Afghan government call for ceasefire during the holy month of Ramadan. In addition to the Afghan government, the Organization of Islamic Countries, NATO, European Union and US have emphasized on reduction of violence in Afghanistan and called on the militants to halt violence and engaged in peace talks with the Afghan government.