Civilian Casualties up By 60pc in Western Zone
HERAT CITY – Civilian casualties rose by 60 percent in western Afghanistan over the past 10 months, when 230 women and children were killed in roadside bomb explosions alone, a UN official said on Sunday. During the period, 736 civilians were killed in Herat, Farah, Ghor and Badghis provinces, UNAMA’s Human Rights Director Georgette Gagnon told a press conference at the Afghanistan Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) office in Herat City.
Expressing her grave concern over the shocking rise in civilian deaths, Gagnon said the Taliban were responsible for 85 percent casualties, government forces for three percent and reasons behind the remaining 12 percent had been unclear. In the corresponding period last year, civilian casualties in the western zone stood at 462, she recalled, saying the use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) by the rebels had been the most dangerous.
She said 230 women and children had been killed in homemade bomb blasts over the past 10 months, calling the actions of government forces, especially local police personnel, inappropriate. The issue has been shared with the Ministry of Interior. AIHRC head for Herat, Ghulam Qadir Rahimi, confirmed the UNAMA’s report, saying incidents of violence against women had increased in the recent past, despite lack of access to information in this regard in remote parts. He said there had been a 10 percent surge in violence against women, compared with last year, when 442 incidents took place. (PAN)