The United Nations says civilian casualties in Afghanistan have risen by 31 percent in the first six months of 2010, compared to the same period in 2009. The report blames the Taliban and other anti-government fighters, saying they caused 76 percent of the casualties, while UN coalition forces caused 12 percent of civilian casualties, fewer than in 2009.
"Afghan children and women are increasingly bearing the brunt of this conflict. They are being killed and injured in their homes and communities in greater numbers than ever before," said Staffan de Mistura, Special Representative of the Secretary-General.
Between Jan1 and June 30, the UN Assistance Mission to Afghanistan Human Rights Unit documented 3,268 civilian casualties including 1,271 deaths and 1,997 injuries. Fifty-five percent more children became casualties than in 2009.
Pregnant Widow Killed For Adultery, But No Punishment For The Man.
The violence in Afghanistan shows no sign of abating. Yesterday, Aug. 9, a local Taliban group in Bhadgis, a rural western region close to the Iranian border, killed a widow accused of adultery. The newswire Agence France Presse reported the woman, Bibi Sanubar, was pregnant and was lashed 200 times before being shot, by a local Taliban commander, Mohammad Yousuf. The man who reportedly impregnated her was not punished.
Because the Taliban is made up of small independent groups, this kind of violence, while common, is often repudiated by spokesmen for the movement. A Taliban spokesman Qari Yosuf Ahmadi, denied responsibility for the killing, calling it Western 'propaganda.'
Taliban Deny Responsibility For Time Magazine Girl, Aisha's, Mutilation.
In a statement issued Aug, 9, the Taliban also denied responsibility for the mutilation of Aisha, the young woman pictured on the cover of Time magazine. The 18-year-old's ears and nose were cut off when she fled the home of her husband's family – this time in the south of the country. An AFP report quotes the statement as saying mutilation is illegal under Islamic law, saying, "As far as the story of Aisha is concerned, Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has condemned this barbaric, inhumane and un-Islamic act and declares that this case has never been forwarded to any court or persons of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan."
The UNAMA report called on the Taliban to withdraw all orders for civilian killings, stop suicide bombings and IED attacks, comply with international humanitarian laws and stop the intimidation and assassination of civilians. It urges the Taliban to stop using civilians as human shields.
The report also criticized coalition forces and called for improved reporting transparency and accountability and for US and coalition forces to further limit aerial and night attacks.
" The Afghan Government should create a public body to lead its response to major civilian casualty incidents and its interaction with international military forces and other key actors, ensure investigations include forensic components, ensure transparent and timely compensation to victims; and, improve accountability including discipline or prosecution for any Afghan National Security Forces personnel who unlawfully cause death or injury to civilians or otherwise violate the rights of Afghan citizens."