Tag Archives: Afghan Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties; US Troops Not Serious to Avoid and Taliban Cause Larger

The tragic incident of firing on civilian bus in Kandahar killing four including a woman and a child, has intensified the anti-US perception of people in South. Why does it happen again and again? After each tragic incident of civilian casualties, the forces are thought to have learnt from their blunders and avoid such blind firing, but we see it happening again very soon after the previous incident. The forces seems to be very ill-trained regarding the confrontation with civilians. Recently the US and NATO military officials restructured their engagement approach to avoid civilian casualties, but we see each day with a worst of it happening repeatedly.

Such incidents will only cause to intensify the anti-NATO perception of people, whom the US is trying to win by hearts and minds. Talking of that specific tragic incident in Kandahar, it has been reported that the bus didn’t stop approaching the convoy of troops after warning signals. Traveling on Kandahar-Kabul highway is one the worst in Afghanistan. Taliban try to make an appearance on the highway almost daily, in order to keep their fear of presence in the minds of people. Almost everyday there is a firefight between NATO and Afghan troops patrolling on the highway and Taliban militants and many times civilians come under fire. NATO vehicles have sign of “stay away” which all the civilian vehicles follow to avoid being killed!. But in very rare cases, be it misunderstanding due illiteracy or newcomers, of driver or his attention not being to the military convoy, causes deadly consequences. Forces could simply avoid all those casualties by some warning shots on mirror of the bus, or around it, or on tyre of the vehicle, but opening up indiscriminate fire on the vehicle shows the same mentality recently shown in the Wikileaks video from Kandahar where civilians are being killed like a battle in a video game. The other video promised by Wikileaks about Afghanistan civilian killings, to be released soon might prove this mentality.

Why civilian casualties happen again and again? Don’t they really take it serious? Civilian deaths have been one of the major reasons behind driving out young suicide bombers from the family of victims who are thirsty of the blood of those who killed their loved ones.

On the other hand, Taliban are responsible for majority of civilian casualties. Taliban IED and suicide attacks killed three times more civilians than the victims of the US, NATO and Afghan National Security Forces operations last year. When protesting against civilian casualties, the people need to condemn Taliban militants also, besides chanting “Death to America”, wish there was someday a protest rally against any Taliban atrocity with slogans “Death to Taliban” “Stop bombing schools” “Stop beheading people” and so on.

If the foreign troops in Afghanistan will not be serious about avoiding civilian casualties and making all out efforts to avoid any innocent  lives, they would never win the hearts and minds of people. Our Government and the people must be honest and realistic about their outlook. Taliban kill larger number of civilians, this should also be condemned by the President and people.

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Protest Civilian Casualties by Taliban!

An Afghan offering tea to a US soldier. Online Photo

The UN report says 2009 was the deadliest year for Afghan civilians since 2001 and Taliban are responsible for majority of civilian casualties. The report by UNAMA says 2,412 civilians were killed in 2009 and 3,566 wounded, showing an increase of 14 per cent compared to last year. The report finds that Taliban IED and suicide attacks killed three times more civilians than the victims of the US, NATO and Afghan National Security Forces operations.

It has been the course during the last eight years of conflict in Afghanistan that most of the civilian casualties are caused by insurgents, but their media propaganda is so effective that almost all blame goes to foreign and Afghan troops. During this year there were most brutal incidents including the beheadings of over 20 labors by Taliban on the way between Qandhar to Herat.

But the “public” attitude was totally different towards the incidents of civilian casualties caused by foreign or Afghan troops’ operations and those hundreds butchered by Taliban attacks. It’s obvious that most of civilian casualties by troops are suspicious due to no free media reporting from the place of incident. Taliban killed in any insurgent stronghold are people of the same village, thus considered local and labeled civilian. There have been many such cases. Most of the time, its Taliban that use civilians as shelter in combats with foreign and Afghan troops. They do so intentionally to cause civilian deaths thus create hatred among local populations against foreign troops. Militants have been quite successful in their “civilian casualty” strategy with a successful media war. The firsthand reports that get published on national and international print and electronic media about any incident in Afghanistan are based on statements of militants with huge exaggerations and mostly fake. While troops have a proper process of investigations, by then media commentaries make it easy for militants to win the psychological battle among public.

Most of the times people are even afraid to raise fingers against militants. There have been several protest demonstrations on controversial cases of civilian deaths, but not a single rally against Taliban asking them to stop butchering people! Our national media is not playing its due role in highlighting the atrocities of Taliban. In order to win hearts and minds, awareness has to be created about the atrocities that Taliban is committing, including for the countless civilians that have died in their suicide-attacks.

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Filed under Insurgency, Taliban, Taliban Propagation, US Troops in Afghanistan