The Taliban have reacted to the report on civilian casualties that was released on July 14 by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan [full UNAMA report, PDF, is here]. UNAMA concluded that the Taliban and allied groups (referred to as Anti-Government Elements) are responsible for 80 percent of the civilian casualties. A summary from the UNAMA report:
The human cost of the Afghan conflict for Afghan civilians rose in the first six months of 2011. Afghan civilians experienced a 15 per cent increase in conflict-related civilian deaths over the past first six months compared to the same period in 2010. This dramatic growth was mainly due to the use of landmine-like pressure plate improvised explosive devices or IEDs by Anti-Government Elements. We at UNAMA documented 1,462 civilian deaths for this period, with 80 per cent attributed to Anti-Government Elements, an increase of 28 per cent in civilian deaths from the same period in 2010.
A further 14 per cent of civilian deaths over the last six months were attributed to the Pro-Government Forces – this is the Afghan National Security Forces and International Military Forces. This was down nine per cent from the same period in 2010. And six per cent of civilian deaths we could not attributed to any party to the conflict.
Today the Taliban issued a formal response to the UNAMA report. The response was released on their propaganda website, Voice of Jihad. The Taliban are quite defensive in denying UNAMA’s report. They attempt to deflect blame for their actions by listing a series of incidents in which they claim ISAF killed civilians. And, perhaps more importantly, they deny using pressure-plate IEDs:
As in the past, the UNO office in Kabul, UNAMA, has blamed the Mujahideen to be responsible for most of civilian casualties in Afghanistan. In its report, UNAMA, says a total of 1462 civilians have been killed in the first six months of 2011, showing an increase of 15% as compared with last year. UNAMA puts the blame on Mujahideen for 80% of casualties and ascribes only 14% to the invaders and to the Puppet Regime, claiming that only 79 common people were killed as a result of bombardment of the invaders in the past six months.
UNAMA accuses Mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate of having caused casualties to the common people by planting land mines. However, all the country men know that Mujahideen use landmines which are controlled remotely, i.e. they are not detonated by heavy pressure. So Mujahideen’s mines aim only at a specific targets. Pathetically, the reality is contrary to what UNAMA and other reports indicate. Even a few cases of the civilian casualties at the hands of the invaders committed in the past six months are enough to refute all claims of UNAMA, let alone the total data of the casualties.
ISAF and Afghan forces, as well as civilians, encounter pressure-plate IEDs on a regular basis. Civilians are routinely killed in such attacks.
The Taliban clearly are not fans of UNAMA, but that should come as no surprise. Keep in mind that the Taliban (likely backed by the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan) launched a suicide assault against a UNAMA compound in Herat in October 2010.
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