Civilian casualties key driver of Afghan war

Sunday, 06 November 2016 05:03 Written by  Heart of asia Read 491 times

The issue of civilian casualties in airstrikes and night operations is a major bone of contention between ex-President Hamid Karzai, and the United States. Hamid Karzai did not sign the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) because the US refused to guarantee the safety of Afghan civilians and the restoration of peace to the country. Soon after its formation, the National Unity Government (NUG) signed the security pact with the US without taking cognizance of the conditions set by the consultative Loya Jirga (grand assembly) that was called  by the former government to decide whether the accord should be signed or not.

The US had changed the public’s perception in a way that some Afghans believed signing the BSA was the only option they had to save the country. They thought it would not only protect Afghanistan against any foreign aggression, but would also lead to peace and stability in the country; however, its upshots are now quite otherwise. Since the deal, the security situation has worsened, militant activities have ever increased, the government has lost many areas to the resurgent Taliban, and even new terrorist groups have emerged.
The unconditional and inconsiderate signing of the security accord by the NUG is more a mistake than a compulsion and exigency. The government had to emphasize on the conditions offered by the previous administration for signing the agreement, because they had a long experience working with Americans, and based on that experience, they had set conditions for Americans which were in the interest of Afghanistan.
With the government’s signing of the agreement, the US was authorized to have a free hand and escalate its air campaign in Afghanistan which has largely claimed the lives of Afghan civilians. The concerns thereof increased after civilian casualties once again soared in US airstrikes. In a recent incident, US troops bombed a village on the outskirts of Kunduz city, martyring 30 civilians, mostly women and children.
Afghan civilian casualties in foreign air raids and operations are one of the key agents of Afghan conflict. Justice is not delivered for victims of such incidents, thereby leaving members of the affected families with one option, to exact their revenge on the killers. This boosts the ranks of militants, and leads to the continuation of fighting. Most importantly, since the bereaved people are unable to target the main culprits of these incidents who are foreigners, they wreak vengeance on their fellow Afghans. The retaliation trend is indeed the continuity of a war whose victims are solely Afghans. Government leaders should realize the sensitivity of the issue, and stop adding fuel to the fire by halting the arbitrary operations of foreign forces.

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