The top US commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Scott Miller, says civilian casualties in the Afghan conflict are worrying but added that the Afghan and foreign forces are maintaining precision in their operations against militants.
Reports indicate that civilian casualties have sharply increased in recent months as violence continues in different parts of the country.
Miller made the remarks in a visit to the western province of Herat on Tuesday where he was accompanied by Deputy Interior Minister for Security Gen. Khoshal Sadat and Deputy Defense Minister Gen. Yasin Zia.
“Afghan security forces side and the coalition side, we absolutely want to avoid civilian causalities at all cost. We demand precision in our operations and we hold people accountable when that precision is not maintained. But at the same time, I do believe it is the will of Afghan people and it is the best way to stop civilian causalities is reduce the violence,” Miller said.
Meanwhile, Gen. Zia blamed the Taliban for most of the civilian causalities.
“Civilian causalities figures have increased and it is from the enemy. You saw that in Juma Bazar in Faryab, the enemy targeted the people with mortars and killed and wounded over a hundred people there,” Zia said.
Gen. Sadat said the insurgents’ activities around the country has made the people take arms and defend their lives.
“We cannot deploy soldiers in every part of the country and in every village for defending and protecting the areas. In the whole world, if you see, people are the main defenders of their areas,” Sadat said.
A fresh figure by Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) indicates that 596 civilians were killed and 1,892 others were wounded in clashes between government forces and the Taliban and other attacks by militants in Afghanistan since the beginning of the current solar year which coincides with March 21, 2019.
The CEO of the AIHRC, Musa Mahmoodi, told TOLOnews on Monday that 733 of the victims are children who have either been killed or wounded in the conflicts during the period.