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Afghan forces handle civilian casualties poorly, report claims

By Kevin Sieff

KABUL — A report released Monday accuses Afghanistan’s army and police of failing to address civilian casualties as the country’s newly built forces assume responsibility for security during NATO’s military withdrawal.

The Center for Civilians in Conflict, a Washington-based research organization, said in its report that “the capacity of the Afghan government and security forces to prevent and respond appropriately to civilian casualties is woefully underdeveloped.”

The killing of civilians in Afghanistan has been a long-standing source of tension between U.S. military leaders and Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who has complained that foreign troops don’t take sufficient precautions to prevent collateral damage.

According to the United Nations, civilian casualties caused by the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) have declined over the past two years. While historically Afghan forces have caused fewer casualties than the ISAF, the report suggests that as Afghan soldiers and police take control of the country’s security, they will “likely cause increased civilian casualties as they conduct more combat operations on their own.”

The report also alleges that Afghan institutions have often failed to award condolence payments to victims’ families or to properly investigate incidents in which civilians were harmed.

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For media inquiries please contact:
Liz Lucas at Center for Civilians in Conflict at +1 202 716 0829 or liz@civiliansinconflict.org