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“…efforts to try and defame Mujahideen…”: Taliban on civilian casualties

December 18, 2012

By Tim Foxley

Summary: The Taliban publicly attack the UN for its assessment of the Taliban’s responsibility for civilian casualties in Afghanistan.  Although their approach is naive and self-serving, their attempts to generate joint investigations perhaps should not be totally dismissed.

Afghanistan-IEDs-mapped-006Just to follow on from my report yesterday about the “politics” of civilian casualties.  The Taliban have issued a very angry rebuttal of what they perceive as United Nation’s attempts to blame the Taliban for the majority of civilian casualties:

Taliban official website, 17 Dec 2012

“UNAMA, a branch of the United Nations, in its recent civilian casualties report once again attributed eighty percent (80%) of the caused casualties to the Mujahideen, six percent (6%) to the Kabul administration and chose to remain silent on the rest.

The report writes that in the second half on the current year, civilian casualties increased compared to a downward trend in the first six months. 967 civilians were reported martyred and 1590 civilians wounded.

UNAMA has failed to even indicate towards the civilian casualties caused by bombings, raids and direct fire of the invading forces despite the fact that the mentioned forces oppress, detain and martyr civilians on a daily basis. Similarly, it has enshrouded the atrocities committed by the Kabul regime’s Army, Police and especially Arbakis (ALP/militia) and has only attributed six percent of civilian casualties to them which in reality is far lower than the actual percent.

On the other hand, UNAMA has now for a prolonged period been accusing Mujahideen for the major share of civilian casualties to hide the flaws of the invaders and at the same time, for unknown reasons, it has not positively responded to the reasonable appeals and genuine investigation called to by Islamic Emirate regarding prevention of civilian casualties. The general population is our own nation; our leader had previously taken serious steps in preventing civilian losses and efforts are still being made so none are caused by us; most importantly, we are divinely responsible to answer to the people in this regard. Using the issue of civilian casualties for political and other purposes is what strengthens such activities because its drives our enemies, in order to defame Mujahideen, to commit such acts which on the one hand cause heavy civilian losses and on the other hand, put pressure on Mujahideen through organization like UNAMA to achieve their sinister objectives. This evidence is adequate to prove UNAMA’s incompetence that it has never conferred Mujahideen while assembling its report so we can have an answer to the allegations blindly charged against us, all this while it is exclusively using the opposition as its sole source of information.

The Islamic Emirate has repeatedly made clear that mines placed by Mujahideen are all controlled by remotes and do not detonate by pressure but only hit its intended targets. To validate our claim, it is enough to say that the invaders themselves admit that sixty percent (60%) of their casualties in the past ten years have been caused by IEDs…”

Analysis and Outlook

The Taliban, as usual, make some naïve, poorly thought-through and implausible claims (“mines placed by Mujahideen are all controlled by remotes and do not detonate by pressure but only hit its intended targets”), but also some more interesting ones.  They suggest that they should be consulted by the UN before it produces a report and, once again, appear to advocate some form of joint investigation to look at the issue.  I still hold to the idea that any form of direct contact with the insurgents will serve as a useful confidence building measure, even though significant progress should not be assumed.  Perhaps the international community should be prepared to at least explore the possibility calling the Taliban’s bluff and invite them to engage closely on the issue.  It might be possible to then at least establish when particular blasts could be attributable to wars past – ie the Soviet invasion period.  Who knows, you might get one or two of the more indiscriminate weapons or tactics suspended, or at least more transparently monitored, to the benefit of all civilians.

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