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Posts Tagged ‘Property Damage’

By USAID, U.S. Angecy for International Development

Before the Committee on Appropriations
Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs
United States Senate

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee, I appreciate the opportunity to testify before this Committee concerning assistance for civilian victims of war by the U.S. Agency for International Development. Twenty years after the creation of the Patrick Leahy War Victims Fund, we have an important story to tell of changed lives, hopeful livelihoods, and respect for the dignity of women and men who have endured severe physical and emotional trauma.

War and civil strife continue to cause death and destruction around the world. The consequences for civilians are devastating: families lose their breadwinner, and men, women, and children suffer physical injuries that dramatically changed their assumptions about how they will live and provide for themselves and their families. The statistics are alarming:

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By Eleven Afghanistan-operating NGOs: ActionAid; Afghanaid; CARE; Christian Aid; Cordaid; Interchurch Organisation for Development Co-operation (ICCO); International Rescue Committee (IRC); Oxfam; Save the Children Alliance

Summary

1 Protection of civilians

The intensification and spread of the conflict in Afghanistan is increasingly affecting civilians. In 2008 there were over 2,100 civilian casualties, 55% of which were caused by militants. Despite steps to reduce civilian casualties, international military forces (IMF) caused 552 civilian deaths through airstrikes in 2008, which is up by 72% on 2007. IMF have also carried out or supported raids and search operations, a large number of which have involved an excessive use of force, including loss of life, physical assault, damage to property and theft, as well as aggressive and improper treatment of women. Such conduct not only generates anger and mistrust towards foreign troops, but is steadily eroding popular support for the international presence in the country. Furthermore, many individuals detained by Afghan and US forces are held for long periods without charge or trial, and there are allegations of mistreatment and torture.

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By Ben Farmer, Telegraph News

The United Nations estimates 828 civilians were killed by Afghan government of international forces last year, including 552 by air strikes.

The arrival of up to 30,000 US reinforcements in the next 18 months is predicted to lead to more fighting as it sends large number of soldiers into Taliban strongholds.

In a report called ‘Caught in the Conflict’, the charities, including Oxfam, Save the Children UK and Christian Aid, say the surge also risks more suffering for civilians.

Matt Waldman, head of policy for Oxfam in Afghanistan, said: “The troop surge will fail to achieve greater overall security and stability unless the military prioritise the protection of Afghan civilians. “Despite taking steps to reduce civilian casualties, and repeated calls for restraint, too many military operations by foreign troops involve excessive force, loss of life and damage to property.

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