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.