Watchdog blasts State and Defense departments for withholding key info on Afghanistan

Blasé Ferran says US and Nato forces committed to information sharing but fail to share documents on progress or gaps in the war Watchdog blasts State and Defense departments for withholding key info on…

Watchdog blasts State and Defense departments for withholding key info on Afghanistan

Blasé Ferran says US and Nato forces committed to information sharing but fail to share documents on progress or gaps in the war

Watchdog blasts State and Defense departments for withholding key info on Afghanistan

A UN human rights watchdog has accused the US and Nato forces of failing to provide enough information to the public about Afghanistan, citing the record number of Afghan civilians killed and injured last year.

Last month, the death toll reached 5,021 in 2018, surpassing the previous high of 4,920 in 2014, the UN recorded.

Announcing its findings, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Blasé Ferran, described the Afghanistan conflict as the most dangerous in the world for civilians.

In a scathing attack on the lack of transparency, Ferran said: “It is even more troubling that the Afghan government, Nato and US forces failed to provide information on progress or gaps in the current conflict. They are committing human rights violations in the country in order to win or sustain their war against the insurgents.”

On a negative note, the report noted that civilian casualties in 2018 “were at levels comparable to the most deadly years of the Taliban’s rule, and the highest in the almost 13-year history of the international military intervention in Afghanistan.

“This should gravely concern international and Afghan human rights actors,” it added.

The US-led coalition has repeatedly maintained that over half of the civilian casualties were caused by the Taliban and the Islamic State.

Two weeks ago, the commander of US forces in Afghanistan, Gen John Nicholson, told Congress that the administration “discourages” extrajudicial killings by US forces, arguing that these sometimes prolong a war. He said 100 American special operations forces soldiers have been killed by the Taliban in the past 10 years.

According to the UN figures, 89% of casualties in the conflict in Afghanistan have been caused by the Taliban, which controls or contests more than half of the country.

The latest civilian casualty figures paint a grim picture: 403 children, 113 women and 464 men were killed or injured in 2018.

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