Afghanistan Taliban’s labeled UNAMA”s Report as partial propaganda

KABUL, 14 February 2016 - The United Nations Secretary-General's Special Representative for Afghanistan and head of UNAMA Mr. Nicholas Haysom, and UNAMA Human Rights Director Danielle Bell release the 2015 Annual Report on Protection of Civilian in Armed Conflict at a Kabul press conference in Kabul.

The number of civilian casualties in Afghanistan during 2015 are the highest recorded, the UN said today on the release of its 2015 Annual Report on Protection on Civilian in Armed Conflict.

Photo by UNAMA / Fardin Waezi.
KABUL, 14 February 2016 - The United Nations Secretary-General's Special Representative for Afghanistan and head of UNAMA Mr. Nicholas Haysom, and UNAMA Human Rights Director Danielle Bell release the 2015 Annual Report on Protection of Civilian in Armed Conflict at a Kabul press conference in Kabul. The number of civilian casualties in Afghanistan during 2015 are the highest recorded, the UN said today on the release of its 2015 Annual Report on Protection on Civilian in Armed Conflict. Photo by UNAMA / Fardin Waezi.
KABUL, 14 February 2016 – The United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and head of UNAMA Mr. Nicholas Haysom, and UNAMA Human Rights Director Danielle Bell release the 2015 Annual Report on Protection of Civilian in Armed Conflict at a Kabul press conference in Kabul.
The number of civilian casualties in Afghanistan during 2015 are the highest recorded, the UN said today on the release of its 2015 Annual Report on Protection on Civilian in Armed Conflict.
Photo by UNAMA / Fardin Waezi.

The annual report, produced by the UNAMA in coordination with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Office (OHCHR), shows that increased ground fighting in and around populated areas, along with suicide and other attacks in major cities, were the main causes of conflict-related civilian deaths and injuries in 2015.

UNAMA documented 11,002 civilian casualties (3,545 deaths and 7,457 injured) in 2015, exceeding the previous record levels of civilian casualties that occurred in 2014. The latest figures show an overall increase of four per cent during 2015 in total civilian casualties from the previous year. UNAMA began its systematic documentation of civilian casualties in 2009.

According the report, ground engagements between parties to the conflict caused the highest number of total civilian casualties (fatalities and injuries), followed by improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and suicide and complex attacks. Ground engagements caused the most fatalities among civilians, followed by targeted and deliberate killings.

taliban-deniesThe Afghanistan’s Taliban spokesman labeled this report as partial propaganda compiled at the behest of occupying forces. Zabihullah Mujahid further observed that civilian casualties can never be prevented through such biased reporting and ‘only encourages the irresponsibility’ of the Kabul regime and their foreign backers.

It is worthwhile to state that the Islamic Emirate has consistently called on UNAMA to vigorously check their sources and facts and give all parties an opportunity to rebut accusations before publishing such reports yet UNAMA persistently fails to heed such calls. UNAMA lacks the will power to visit the affected areas and cross-examine these allegations. Rather their only sources of information are the American Embassy in Kabul and the ministries of Kabul regime.

How can we then expect such an institution to thoroughly investigate claims of civilian casualties and publish impartial and proportionate reports?
Let us take this recent report as an example. The report alleges that 37 percent of the civilian casualties were caused as a result of ground engagements. Clearly specifying the responsible party in such engagements is one of the most difficult tasks of all.

To fairly apportion blame in such an engagement would require a thorough investigation involving the examination of the territory where such incidents occur as well as interviewing the victims or those close to the victims at the time of the incident. Moreover, defining the actions of the responsible party as accidental or deliberate would require communication with the belligerent parties before reaching a judgment on their motives.

UNAMA has failed to carry out any of these steps. They refuse to visit many of the outlying theatres of conflict and when they do visit or contact the victims they are often escorted by regime forces or foreign troops which undermine the very notion of a fair and impartial investigation.

On the other hand, the report only attributes 3 percent of the civilian casualties to air operations. To anyone that has ever visited the conflict areas during active engagements this figure would appear comical since the vast majority of casualties during regime operations are caused by indiscriminate air bombardment coupled with large scale mortar and artillery shelling.

This discrepancy between the ground events and the 3 percent apportioning can only be described by speculating that either UNAMA takes all NATO and regime claims regarding casualties prima facie or else they are too afraid to report the true damage caused by aerial operations.

If UNAMA truly wishes to reduce the number of civilian casualties and bring the perpetrators of such actions to justice then they should accept the Afghanistan’s Taliban proposal to set up a joint committee that will freely visit both insurgent-controlled and regime-controlled areas in order to conduct extensive investigations of civilian casualties and judiciously identify the party responsible. As an additional step UNAMA should also provide a copy of such reports to the Afghanistan’s Taliban Department for the Prevention of Civilian Casualties so as to give them an opportunity to answer the allegations against them before deciding to publish such reports.

Failing such reasonable steps, with a deep heart, it must be said, that the war will continue unabated, civilians with continue to suffer their plight, and the real perpetrators of these crimes against humanity with continue to slaughter with impunity.

About Qamar Yousafzai

Academic: 1) Diploma of Associate Engineering in electrical technology from Peshawar, 2) Did B-Tech from Peshawar 3) Graduation in Political Science and Sociology; 4) Master in International Relations. 5) Master in Mass communication incomplete due to domestic problems while I did previous and the final remaining. Professional Background: I have been worked on key posts in Peshawar, Baluchistan. Karachi and Islamabad. I have been a reporter for Pakistan and Afghanistan affairs for the last more than 20 years 1) I had been Chief Editor for National Daily and Monthly Magazine (Nida e Jehan) Peshawar 1990 to 1998. 2) Had been The Managing Editor for” Pakistan News Net Work” Islamabad in 1995 only for 4 months.. 3) Have done reporting during wars in Afghanistan for so many times, 4) During my Duties I did improved my Qualifications and still I am doing my studies in Mass Communication. 5) Having the experience of exclusive political reporting, 6) Having experience of environmental journalism; 7) Did write for the safeguarding of women rights regarding honor killing in Pakistan 8)Have been reporting on the “War on Terror”. 9) did investigative reporting on the whole of Pak-Afghan borders that consists on 2400kms approximately.. 10) Remained Chief Reporter and Executive Editor for Daily Kainaat News Network Islamabad Pakistan. 11) Editor daily Islamabad Times for more than three years.2010 to 2013 12) Deputy Editor for Daily Ash-Sharaq International for 6 months 2013 13) Director News for www.statestimes.net for Pakistan from last 5 years till Present. (Online news setup). 14) Managing Editor www.alqamar.org (online Urdu news setup) from last 6 years. 15) I have been worked with Norwegian for more than two years. 16) Due to Hard work i got the best of best award in Journalism 2014. 17) I had been arranged forums and participated talk shows on different issues. According to my experiences and Hard working I have complete best Reporting Team All Over Pakistan Because I have been worked more than 8 years for daily Baakhabar Quetta, Daily Lashkar Quetta, daily Sadaqat Quetta, Daily Nawey Zawand (Pashto) Quetta, and remained Reporter for ARY One world from Baluchistan in 2003. Worked as Joint Editor Daily Pasban Karachi . daily Nazim Karachi. Qamar ul Munir Yousafzai, (Known as Qamar Yousafzai) Cell# +92-3443338777 and+92 – 3348555355

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