Millions of civilians have fled their homes, and tens of thousands have been killed or injured in the nearly three decades of armed conflict in Afghanistan. Now, as the International Security and Assistance Force (ISAF) implements its exit strategy from Afghanistan, the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) prepare to take over full responsibility for the security measures of the Afghan population.
When the Center began working on Afghanistan in 2003, civilian protection was not a priority for international forces and little help was available for civilians harmed. Now, a multitude of efforts exist to address civilian harm—many strongly advocated for by the Center, including NATO’s adoption of a policy for compensation to civilians in Afghanistan and the United States’ Afghan Civilian Assistance Program (ACAP), the first US funded program to aid civilians by US combat operations.
As ISAF prepares to exit, Afghan forces’ ability to protect their own population is our top priority and will remain so through the official handover in 2014. We’re training Afghan officers on processes for properly responding to civilian harm and pressing the Afghan government to set up a formal system to prevent, track and respond to civilian harm.
The Center has released groundbreaking reports examining the war's impact on civilians; documented existing compensation systems, support, and relief efforts; and provided specific, practical recommendations to warring parties on civilian losses. We’ve also collaborated with a number of organizations on advocacy and support efforts in and out of the country, including the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Human Rights Watch, International Crisis Group, Open Society Foundations, Oxfam International, Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission and Afghan Development Association.