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U.N. Report Says 3812 Afghans Killed, Wounded in Mid-2019

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(Last Updated On: July 31, 2019)

The U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) says in a report that the number of civilian casualties from the Afghan conflicts has a 27 percent decrease compared to the same period in 2018.

The conflict in Afghanistan continues to have a devastating impact on civilians, with the latest UN update released today documenting 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 percent down from the same period in 2018 –the year that saw record-high numbers of recorded civilian casualties– the UN notes with concern disturbing patterns such as the 27 percent increase in civilian deaths in the second quarter of 2019 compared with the first.

“The UN welcomes the reduction in civilian casualties in the 1 January-30 June 2019 period but continues to regard the level of harm done to civilians as shocking and unacceptable,” the report said.

UNAMA acknowledges that parties have announced efforts to reduce civilian casualties, but they are insufficient, the report said adding, “More must be done.”

The UN supports the demand for all parties to reduce civilian casualties to zero, made in the joint declaration by Afghan participants from the 7-8 July 2019 Intra-Afghan Dialogue held in Doha.

“Everyone heard the message loud and clear from Afghan delegates in the Doha talks – ‘reduce civilian casualties to zero,” said UNAMA Chief Tadamichi Yamamoto.

“We urge all parties to heed this imperative, to answer the call of Afghans for immediate steps to be taken to reduce the terrible harm being inflicted,” added Yamamoto.

The report further said that the anti-Government Elements (AGEs) continued to cause the majority of civilian casualties. However, civilian deaths attributed to Pro-Government Forces (PGFs) exceeded those caused by AGEs for the second quarter in succession.

Ground engagements remained the leading cause of civilian casualties, causing one-third of the overall total, albeit a 16 percent decrease compared to the first half of 2018.

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

UNAMA attributed 52 percent of all civilian casualties to AGEs, with 38 percent attributed to Taliban, 11 percent to Daesh, and 3 percent to unidentified AGEs, the report noted.

Civilian casualties attributed to AGEs decreased by 43 percent 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 percent, 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.

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.

UNAMA reiterates that civilians not directly participating in hostilities, including civilian government workers, and civilian objects may never be the target of attack.

UNAMA urges AGEs to apply a definition of civilian and civilian object that accords with international humanitarian law.

During the first six months of 2019, UNAMA attributed 1,397 civilian casualties (717 deaths and 680 injured) to Pro-Government Forces, a 31 percent increase from the corresponding period in 2018. PGFs caused 37 percent of all civilian casualties in the first half of 2019 (18 percent by Afghan national security forces, 12 percent by International Military Forces, 2 percent by Pro-Government armed groups and the remainder to undetermined or multiple PGFs), read the statement.

“Aerial operations caused 519 civilian casualties (363 deaths and 156 injured), 150 of which were child casualties (89 deaths and 61 injured). This represents a 39 percent increase in overall civilian casualties from this tactic,” the report said adding, “While the number of injured decreased, the number of civilians killed more than doubled, highlighting the lethal character of this tactic.”

UNAMA continues to express concern about the rising level of civilian harm as a result of aerial operations, particularly those conducted in support of Afghan forces on the ground and strikes on civilian structures.

UNAMA attributed 83 percent of the civilian casualties resulting from aerial operations to International Military Forces, nine percent to the Afghan Air Force, and the remaining eight percent to undetermined PGFs.

Women continue to be disproportionately impacted by the armed conflict in Afghanistan. Up to 30 June 2019, the conflict caused 430 women casualties (144 deaths and 286 injured), a decrease of 22 percent compared to the same period in 2018.

Child casualties represented almost one-third of the overall total of civilian casualties, with 327 deaths and 880 injured. Children continue to comprise the vast majority –84 percent– of all civilian casualties from explosive remnants of war.

“Parties to the conflict may give differing explanations for recent trends, each designed to justify their own military tactics,” said Richard Bennett, UNAMA’s Human Rights Chief.

“The fact remains that only a determined effort to avoid civilian harm, not just by abiding by international humanitarian law but also by reducing the intensity of the fighting, will decrease the suffering of civilian Afghans,” Bennett added.

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Uzbekistan calls on world not to isolate Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: September 26, 2022)

Uzbekistan has called on the international community to not isolate Afghanistan, stating this will have negative consequences for regional and international security.

Addressing the 77th session of the UN General Assembly, Uzbekistan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Norov said: “We consider it extremely important to prevent the isolation of Afghanistan, leaving it alone with the existing problems. This will undoubtedly have negative consequences for regional and international security.”

He said his country was concerned about the decline in attention given to Afghanistan and that the international community’s priority should be the restoration of the country’s economy, its integration into interregional economic processes, and the implementation of infrastructure and socially significant projects.

According to Norov, the support of the UN, international financial institutions and donor countries is needed to solve these problems, Inoz Press reported.

“The establishment of the Interregional Center for Interconnectivity in Tashkent, proposed by Uzbekistan with the support of the UN, will also contribute to the solution of the problems of involving Afghanistan in regional trade and economic ties,” he added.

The minister also voiced Uzbekistan’s proposal to establish a special Humanitarian Support Fund for Afghanistan in the border town of Termez, the funds of which will be used to overcome the social crisis, implement educational programs for youth and projects in the field of healthcare.

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Saudi calls on Kabul not to allow the country to become a terrorist haven

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(Last Updated On: September 25, 2022)

Saudi Arabia has asked the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) to not let the country become a sanctuary for terrorist activities.

Speaking at the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud has called for the joint cooperation of all countries to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a center for the growth of terrorism.

“Afghanistan should not become a center for terrorist activities for the growth of terrorists; we should cooperate with this country to achieve lasting peace and stability and have a prosperous economy,” he said.

Wang Yi, the Chinese Foreign Minister, said that Afghanistan is moving from chaos to order, principles and legality, adding that the creation of an inclusive political framework and moderate policies can lead Afghanistan in the right direction.

“Afghanistan is in a critical transition from chaos to order, the right way forward is to put in place an inclusive political framework and adopt moderate policies,” Wang Yi added.

“The goal should be to resume economic growth and improve people’s lives with the fighting terrorism.”

In the meantime, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, whose country is under severe international sanctions due to the military invasion of Ukraine, said that America has failed to bring peace and tranquility to the countries it has invaded.

“Washington erected itself into an almost envoy of god on earth without any obligation but only the sacred right to intervene wherever it wants and this can be done anywhere against any state,” said Lavrov.

The Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar meanwhile stated:
“There is no attention for terrorist activities, the United Nations must respond to terrorism by sanctioning its perpetrators, we support a collaborative, inclusive and consultative approach in international relations.”

“We consider dialogue and diplomacy as the only way out of problems.”

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) has repeatedly stated that terrorist groups are not gaining a foothold in Afghanisitan and that in many instances it is third parties trying to give the impression that Afghanistan is the center of terrorism in the world.

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CIA unveils model of al-Qaeda leader al-Zawahiri’s hideout

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(Last Updated On: September 25, 2022)

The CIA on Saturday revealed the model of a safe house used to brief President Joe Biden about the whereabouts of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri before it killed him in a drone strike in Afghanistan.

Shortly after al-Zawahiri’s death, White House officials released a photo showing Biden talking to CIA Director William Burns with a closed wooden box on the table in front of them, AP reported.

Now, the contents of the box — a model depicting a white-walled home with at least five stories and three partially obscured balconies — are on display at the CIA Museum inside the agency’s Virginia headquarters.

The museum is closed to the public and access is generally limited to the agency’s employees and guests. The CIA allowed journalists to tour the museum, newly refurbished in time for the agency’s 75th anniversary, as part of a broader effort to showcase its history and achievements, AP reported.

Most of the exhibits took years or decades to declassify. The al-Zawahiri model home is the rare artifact that had been used by intelligence officers just weeks beforehand.

Al-Zawahiri was killed in late July, nearly a year after the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan ending a two-decade war in which the CIA had a central role.

The Biden administration has said the strike shows it retains what it calls an “over-the-horizon” counterterrorism capacity in Afghanistan, AP reported.

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) have however said the US’s claims of having killed al-Zawahiri are simply allegations as they were not aware of his presence in Kabul.

Following the drone strike, the IEA launched an investigation into the incident. They also called on the US to provide them with evidence of his death.

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