Saturday, March 05, 2011
President Hamid Karzai said a few days ago that more than 100 Afghan civilians were killed in Nato military operations in different provinces including 65 in Kunar province in one bombing raid in Ghaziabad district.
A delegation sent by Karzai to Kunar to investigate the incident came up with this figure of 65 civilians including 21 boys, 19 girls, 10 women and 15 adult males, even though Nato spokesmen continued to insist that most of those killed were militants and that only 6 or 7 civilians were injured.
In another Nato raid a few days later, nine boys collecting wood in Kunar province’s Manogai area were killed, followed by five men hunting in the mountains in Laghman. Civilians were also killed in recent Nato military actions in Kandahar, Helmand and Farah provinces.
Taliban attacks are also causing an increasing number of civilian deaths. Most such casualties are caused in suicide bombings and by the IED planted by the Taliban to attack foreign forces’ convoys.
The Afghan lawmaker from Kunar, Maulana Shahzada said after the Nato bombings in his native province that he would take his complaint against Nato to the International Court of Justice as it had killed a large number of innocent civilians.
Meanwhile, repatriation of registered Afghan refugees from Pakistan resumed from March 1 and would run through October 2011 from two voluntary repatriation centres in Peshawar and one in Quetta.
The repatriation was halted in the winter, as normally people don’t want to go Afghanistan during the cold winter months from the relatively warmer plains in Pakistan. The UNHCR has increased by 50 percent its cash assistance grant for Afghan refugees opting to repatriate and now every repatriating person would be paid on an average $ 150 depending on travel distances to destinations in Afghanistan. The raise took into account the various expenses that the returning Afghans have to face and also the recent price increases.