In the name of Almighty Allah
Statement regarding the prevention of killing of civilians during
the Moshtarak operation in Helmand province
16.2.2010, Kabul , Afghanistan
On13 of February, the offensive against the Talibans in the south of Afghanistan started. The operation called Moshtarak is carried out by the national and international military forces and focuses on clearing the area of Talibans. This operation is launched in a time when the new US strategy starts to be implemented by the US military forces together with the other NATO members and the Afghan government. According to the national and international authorities in charge of the military, the operation will contribute to bring peace and security to the southern regions of Afghanistan. Before the operation started, the local civilians were warned so that they could leave the area and civilian casualties would be avoided. However, the question where a more secure area could be found was not answered. Subsequently, on 14 of February, the Afghan people witnessed the first casualties. 12 innocent civilians were killed during the operation. The bad news shocked the civil society organisations in Afghanistan. CSHRN would like to express its deepest sympathy for the families of the victims.
The civil society in Afghanistan believes then when organising such a huge and expensive military operation, civilian programs to prevent civilian casualties have to be developed on a equal scale. Killing of innocent civilians during the operations is against the international humanitarian law, in particular the Geneva Conventions of 1949. The military organisations of the international community involved in the Moshtarak operation are bound by these conventions.
Unfortunately, the killing of civilians has widened the gap between the Afghan people, the Afghan state and the international community. The Afghan civil society is deeply concerned about this development.
To avoid further killings of civilians, CSHRN would like to suggest the following:
• The Civil Society and Human Rights Network (CSHRN) would like to ask the leaders in charge of the Moshtarak operation to take immediate action to avoid further civilian casualties during the upcoming days of operation in order not to repeat their mistakes.
• CSHRN would like to ask the civilian division of NATO to act immediately on giving the necessary support in order to prevent casualties
• CSHRN would like to ask the UNAMA office as the coordinator of the international community in Afghanistan to play a more active role in coordinating the international community regarding a support of the victims and their families
• CSHRN would like to ask the Afghan government to send immediately a civilian delegation to the field in order to provide fundamental support for the victims as well as for displaced persons
• CSHRN would like to ask the Afghan parliament to monitor the respect for civilians in the field of operations
The implementation of national and international military strategies should not provoke civilian victims. The mandate of the international community is to safeguard and to provide security for the Afghan population and not to do the opposite. CSHRN would like to follow up on its previous statements on the killing of innocent people and ask all international military actors in Afghanistan to respect the fundamental rights of Afghan citizens. We would like to ask that the basic principles of international humanitarian law and international human rights standards are respected.
Civil Society and Human Rights Network (CSHRN)