Friday, July 08, 2016

Will the 2016 NATO Conference Address Rising Afghan Civilian Casualties?

With the post-Chilcot search for accountability in full swing it is easy to forget the other ongoing wars in which the UK has taken a key role in initiating and/or perpetuating. These include Libya, Syria, and Afghanistan.  

The 2016 NATO conference takes place in Warsaw on July 8-9th. Human Rights Watch have written to NATO Heads of States to raise the issue of rising civilian casualties caused by pro-government troops; forces that have been trained and are being supported by NATO. An except from their letter is provided below:
"The UN Assistance Mission to Afghanistan (UNAMA) has documented a steady rise in civilian casualties since 2009, with each year setting a new record of civilian loss of life. In the first three months of 2016, one-third of civilian casualties were children.
The Taliban and other insurgent groups have been responsible for the vast majority of attacks that have caused significant civilian casualties in Afghanistan, particularly by carrying out suicide bombings in urban areas and planting IEDs on public roads. However, despite years of support and training by NATO allies, ANSF personnel are also increasingly responsible attacks that have killed civilians. In 2015, UNAMA documented a 28 percent increase over 2014 in civilian casualties caused by government security forces, most from the use of indirect fire weapons (mortars, rockets etc.) during ground engagements in civilian-populated areas. In the first three months of 2016, Afghan government forces were responsible for 369 civilian casualties—a 70 percent increase compared to the same period in 2015...."