Some residents of Zurmat district in Paktia province on Sunday launched a protest against what they called the killing of 12 civilians in a military operation by Afghan and foreign forces on Sunday night.
The protesters brought bodies of those killed in the operation to Gardiz City, the provincial capital, and asked security forces to prevent civilians during their operations.
“We have come here to protest as we do not want to be killed anymore. They (government) do not let us to protest and ask justice for the victims,” Ismail, aPaktia resident, said.
The protesters, who mostly were relatives of the victims, asked government to bring in to justice those who have “killed” their beloved ones.
Eidgul, 50, said two of his sons were killed on Sunday night operation. He said government must punish those who have killed his sons.
“Two of my sons, Abdurrahman and Pir Mohammad, have been killed. They were 18 and 22 years old and were just wokers,” said Eidgul.
The protesters warned that they will not burry the bodies unless government punishes those who have killed the civilians.
Paktia deputy governor Abdul Wali Sahmi meanwhile confirmed civilians were killed in last night’s operation.
Sahmi said lack of cooperation between Afghan security and foreign forces is a reason that causes such losses.
He said another reason that cause civilian casualties is that Taliban uses people’s houses as shield.
“Mostly people’s houses are used as shields by militants which a wrong action. Our emphasize is that government by any means should prevent such incidents in the future,” said Sahmi.
This is not the first time that civilians are killed in Afghan and foreign forces operations against Taliban and other militants.
Reports indicate that over 30 civilians were killed in military operations in different parts of the country in the past two weeks. In an airstrike last week in Helmand’s Garmsir district, 23 civilians were killed. The airstrike was conducted by Afghan and foreign forces. The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) on Friday confirmed the casualties.
Members of the Wolesi Jirga, the Lower House of Parliament, on Saturday labeled civilians’ fatalities ‘shocking’.
“I do not know why they bomb innocent people while they know the whereabouts of Taliban and Daesh hideouts,” said Habiba Sadat, an MP.
“Nangarhar, Logar, Kapisa, Maidan Wardak and Helmand have witnessed civilian casualties in the last few days and unfortunately 33 people including women and children were killed in Helmand two days ago,” MP Obaidullah Barikzai said.