Saving civilians is our priority: Govt
31 January, 2013
KABUL: The Ministries of Defense and Interior reacted to a report that said Afghan security forces had failed to prevent civilian casualties, saying that protecting civilians is their priority.
The Washington-based Centre for Civilians in Conflict said in its report that as the time approaches for Afghan forces to take complete charge of the country’s defence, the capacity to preventing and be accountable for civilian casualties remains extremely weak. It also indicated there was an increase in these casualties from the Afghan forces side.
But the two ministries rejected the report, arguing that, on the contrary there has been a decrease in the number of civilian casualties in areas where Afghans are deployed.
"The priority which should build the central point of our strategy in operations is to prevent civilian casualties. The civilian casualties should be prevented at any cost. We continue our operations with this vision," MOD spokesman General Zahir Azimi said.
According to the report, around a thousand civilians a year are harmed in Afghanistan’s war and the Afghan government has a role in such casualties.
"Saving the lives of civilians is one of the priorities and one of the most important responsibilities of Afghanistan’s national police.
That means, the civilians casualties today, through and as a result of the operations carried out by the national police are zero," MOI spokesman Sediq Seddiqi said.
"However unfortunately, civilians still remain one of the targets for the opposition, the enemy, and the Taliban," he added.
The report noted that despite Afghan laws in place to addresses civilian casualties caused by Afghan and allied forces of monthly payments to the victims’ families – $2,000 to families of those killed, $1,000 for those injured, nevertheless the payments are often delayed or not paid.
The center has recommended to the government of Afghanistan, a number of suggestions to reduce civilians casualties:
Advanced programmes for the army and police to be held accountable towards civilian harm, to receive essential training in this regard.
Found joint military and civilian special investigation units inspect such incidents.
Bring improvement and transparency to compensate the victims, make people more aware of the matter, and provide facilitations to the victim.
The report also called on the US, Isaf, and other countries that aid Afghan security forces to make more efforts to avoid casualties of civilians and seriously consider raising prevention awareness within the local forces’ training.