Spate of attacks against civilians in Afghanistan

The ground situation in Afghanistan continues to remain volatile despite the ongoing intra-Afghan peace talks between the Taliban insurgents and the Afghan government in Doha

November 04, 2020 by Peoples Dispatch
Afghan violence

Hours after a suicide attack in Kabul University left 20 students dead and dozens injured in six long hours of fighting on November 2, Monday, Afghan security forces killed another suicide car bomber near a military outpost in Kunduz’s Imam Sahib on Tuesday. The ground situation in Afghanistan continues to remain volatile despite the ongoing intra-Afghan peace talks between the Taliban insurgents and the Afghan government in Doha.

In the attack inside Kabul University, one of the premier institutes of the country, at least three attackers stormed the campus premises and began firing indiscriminately near the law department of the university. 

The attack is the second targeting an education institution in the country since October 24, when over 30 students lost their lives after a suicide bomber blew himself up outside a coaching center in the west of Kabul. 77 youths were also injured in the attack. 

Government officials including vice-president Amrullah Saleh have blamed the Taliban for the attack on students. Abdullah Abdullah, head of the reconciliation council, termed it an “inhumane and heinous crime.” Former president Hamid Karzai stated that the attack was an “unforgivable crime by the enemies of the peace in Afghanistan.”

The Taliban has so far rejected claims of its involvement in the attacks. Meanwhile, the government announced November 3 as a national day of mourning.

The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission estimates that close to 30 children have died in militant attacks on several security posts in the last 10 days. “There is a dire need for a ceasefire. They must stop further violation of the rights of the Afghan people,” said Afghan Human Rights Commission’s Zabihullah Farhang. 

At least 80 civilians have lost their lives in Kabul, Ghazni, and Zabul provinces between October 23 to November 3.  Earlier, two attacks in Khost province and in Kabul last week left 10 civilians dead and over 45 critically wounded.

According to the United Nation Assistance Mission to Afghanistan, Afghanistan is among the deadliest places in the world to be a civilian. As per its quarterly report released on October 27, nearly 6,000 Afghan civilians have been killed or wounded between January to September this year. The report added that in the first nine months of 2020, the number of civilians killed in Talibani attacks increased by 6%.

Save the Children has termed the plight of civilians in Afghanistan as “deeply concerning” and the United Nations Assistance Mission has called for immediate restraint “to take all feasible measures to protect civilians, including a safe path for those wishing to leave the area.”

As per various international humanitarian aid organizations, the closure of health facilities in October has affected more than 38,000 people in the southern Helmand province. Director of the refugees department in Helmand, Sayed Mohammad Ramin, said that “at least 30,000 people have fled the fighting so far.” The crisis has forced several families to live in the open in the streets in Lashkar Gah without tents.

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