Afghan Govt Rejects UN Report’s Claim, Says Taliban Are Main Perpetrators of Civilian Causalities

President Ghani’s spokesman Sediq Sediqqi criticized the findings of recent report by UN about civilian causalities in first six months of 2019.

President Ghani’s spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said at a press conference that the Taliban are involved in civilian casualties as the group targets schools, mosques, and other residential areas and that it makes the main part of their military strategy.

Sediq Sediqqi said the Afghan government has serious reservations and objection on the nature and mechanism of data collection in the report.

From 1 January to 30 June 2019, anti-government elements caused 1,968 civilian casualties (531 deaths and 1,437 injured), the UN report says.

Sediqqi challenged the UN report in this manner.
“If I give the statistics of attacks by the Taliban over the past three days… Since last Wednesday, we have lost our 110 countrymen across the country as a result of attacks by the Taliban and 200 more were wounded,” he said.

“The Taliban continue killing the innocent people. The Taliban inflicts major harms to our innocent people in every attack they carry out. The Taliban carry suicide attack, they plant roadside bombs, they attack schools, mosques, carrying suicide attacks in bazaars and public places make the main part of Taliban’s strategy,” he said.

“If you calculate this figure, the Taliban has killed over 20 people on a daily basis, but UNAMA did not mention it in its report,” Sediqqi said. “Can UNAMA clarify it that how these statistics and data remain absent from their report?”

“We have serious reservations about the publication of UNAMA report. There are serious shortcomings on the report which needs to be addressed. We have a reservation on the nature of collection of figures and statistics, the process of collection of data and information and documentation of the events and incidents in which the civilians lose their lives, so we have serious objections on the modality of collection of date and statistics,” said Sediqqi.

A latest UN update released on Monday documented 3,812 civilian casualties (1,366 deaths and 2,446 injured) in the first half of 2019.

While the number of civilians killed and injured is 27 per cent down from the same period in 2018 it said, the year that saw record high numbers of recorded civilian casualties.

Anti-Government Elements (AGEs) continued to cause the majority of civilian casualties according to UNAMA’s press release. However, civilian deaths attributed to Pro-Government Forces (PGFs) exceeded those caused by AGEs for the second quarter in succession, as per UN’s findings.

Ground engagements remained the leading cause of civilian casualties, causing one-third of the overall total, despite a 16 per cent decrease compared to the first half of 2018, the report said.

Meanwhile, the use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), mainly in non-suicide attacks, was the second leading cause, representing 28 per cent of the total. Civilian casualties from aerial operations amounted to 14 per cent.

UNAMA attributed 52 per cent of all civilian casualties to AGEs, with 38 per cent attributed to Taliban, 11 per cent to Daesh/Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP), and 3 per cent to unidentified AGEs.

Civilian casualties attributed to AGEs decreased by 43 per cent during the first half of 2019 as compared to 2018. This was mainly due to a reduction in civilian casualties from suicide IEDs. Civilian casualties attributed to PGFs increased by 31 per cent, mostly caused by an increase of aerial and search operations.

From 1 January to 30 June 2019, AGEs caused 1,968 civilian casualties (531 deaths and 1,437 injured). There was a sharp drop in civilian casualties from suicide and complex attacks, particularly by Daesh/ISKP.

UNAMA documented 985 civilian casualties (306 deaths and 679 injured) from AGE attacks that deliberately targeted civilians, including government officials, tribal elders, aid workers, religious scholars, mullahs and places of worship and culture.

Moreover, it noted that aerial operations caused 519 civilian casualties (363 deaths and 156 injured), 150 of which were child casualties (89 deaths and 61 injured).

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