Afghanistan: Civilians targeted in attacks during Ramadan

The coffin of Samiullah Rayhan, a religious scholar who was killed while leading prayers at a Mosque in Kabul on 24 May, is carried by Afghan soldiers and supporters. The coffin of Samiullah Rayhan, a religious scholar who was killed while leading prayers at a Mosque in Kabul on 24 May, is carried by Afghan soldiers and supporters. © Ghulamullah Habibi/EPA, via Shutterstock

10 June 2019

In the absence of a ceasefire agreement, attacks on civilians continued in Afghanistan during the holy month of Ramadan

On 5 May, Ramadan had started in Afghanistan but attacks carried out by the Taliban did not cease during this auspicious time. The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) reported that throughout Ramadan, anti-government groups have deliberately attacked civilians: 8 May NGO staff were attacked in Kabul, on 24 May a religious scholar was assassinated at a mosque, on 27 May and 3 June incidents occurred directed at civilian government officials, and on 2 June Shia students were attacked.

This year marks 20 years since the first-ever meeting focusing on the protection of  civilians in conflict took place at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in February 1999, yet these attacks in Afghanistan have yet to follow the obligations in international law. “I condemn these deliberate attacks on civilians that signal a disturbing intent to spread fear; they delegitimize the perpetrators, depriving them of any claim to represent the people of Afghanistan,” said UNAMA chief Tadamichi Yamamoto. He further declared that there cannot be any justification for any party to the conflict to attack civilians.

In 2018, the Taliban agreed to a three-day ceasefire coinciding with Eid al Fitr at the end of Ramadan. This ceasefire was unprecedented and raised hope to conclude in successful peace talks to an end of the conflict. However, this year, the Taliban rejected calls for a Ramadan truce and instead attacked loya jirga, the traditional council.

UNAMA stated that it would continue conducting its Security Council-mandated impartial monitoring and recording of harm inflicted on civilians. The findings will be made public in order to promote accountability of the arbitrators possibly to minimize the impact of war on civilians.

 

 

To read more, visit:

https://news.un.org/en/story/2019/06/1040111

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-48147066

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/bomb-targets-government-bus-in-kabul-as-hopes-dwindle-for-ramadan-cease-fire/2019/06/03/2bd66340-85df-11e9-98c1-e945ae5db8fb_story.html?utm_term=.48941fa9184b

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/30/magazine/afghan-war-casualty-report-may-24-30.html

 

Author: Yu-Jie Liao; Editor: Timo Knaebe

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