Alert Sign Dear reader, online ads enable us to deliver the journalism you value. Please support us by taking a moment to turn off Adblock on

Alert Sign Dear reader, please upgrade to the latest version of IE to have a better reading experience


Afghan Taliban target women


Your Name:

Recipient Email:

THE number of civilian casualties in Afghanistan has decreased for the first time in six years, said the UN, but targeted killings by insurgents — particularly of women, girls and government employees — increased dramatically.

In its annual report on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, the UN recorded 2,754 Afghan civilians being killed in 2012, a decrease of 12 per cent compared with 2011, and 4,805 being injured, a slight rise.

The overall decline was attributed in part to one of the worst winters on record impeding fighting. Fewer suicide bomb attacks and a fall in the number of air strikes also helped ease 2012’s death toll.

But the report showed a 20 per cent increase in the number of women and girls killed or injured. Deliberate targeting by the Taliban and other insurgents also tripled in 2012, said the UN. Most were hit while in their homes or working in fields.

Of the 854 female casualties, 504 were a result of insurgent attacks, while foreign and Afghan troops were responsible for 155 deaths and injuries. Tragically, however, more than 200 female casualties were unattributable and could only be explained by the UN as a result of “the explosive remnants of war”.

The UN warned about the sanctioned use of local militias and their recruitment to the Afghan Local Police, particularly in the north and northeast of the country. The ALP is a localised militia-based force whose training was suspended by US forces in September owing to a dramatic rise in the number of inside attacks carried out by recruits.

According to the UN, the use of the ALP “unintentionally contributed to expand and solidify the power of armed groups” in the north.

The north saw some of the worst targeted assassinations by insurgents of government employees, a tactic which also spiked, the report said, resulting in a dramatic 700 per cent increase in the number of civilian casualties attributed to this type of violence in 2012.

By contrast the number of Afghan civilians killed by Nato-led and Afghan security forces dropped by nearly 40 per cent.

A spokesman for the Taliban dismissed the report, calling it “a vehicle of propaganda against” the group. “…You cannot find a single operation by the Taliban in which civilians have been killed ... We are raising a jihad … for the freedom of the Afghan people,” said Zabiullah Mujahed.

The UN also said it had identified a shift in the Taliban’s public relations efforts.

The group’s promotion of insider attacks on foreign troops and the pin-pointing of military targets, the report said, showed “a heightened awareness” by Taliban leadership of a need to publicly demonstrate that it wants to protect Afghan civilians, and win “hearts and minds”. — The Guardian, London

The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

Comments (4) Closed

Vijay Feb 21, 2013 05:01am
People keep writing articles galore; but has it occured to anyone that problem simply may be Islam itself? It is not a peaceful religion; it never was. People need to move on to a belief system that is more practicle and applicable to daily life.
pathanoo Feb 21, 2013 03:28am
Raoul Ciao Feb 21, 2013 03:15pm
The Good taliban are freedom fighters. They have treated women for leaving homes unaccompanied or for not covering up, looks like. This is part of the intense training Talibs receive to do good for their society through pressuring people into the correct methods of acting in society - for women. They are taught this as part of their religious training and believe this is correct. So why blame someone who is acting on the religious teaching and training they have got ? Must be a western conspiracy.......
NASAH (USA) Feb 21, 2013 02:32pm
What else is NEW in the realm of women beaters. The Talibans target women as if they hate being born out of a woman's womb.