BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – According to compiled coalition, Afghan government and Afghan National Security Force logs and intelligence reports, Taliban and Haqqani insurgent-related attacks have been responsible for 26 innocent civilians killed and another 13 injured within the last seven days in eastern Afghanistan.
All of the civilian casualties occurred within five of the 14 provinces that comprise Regional Command-East and several of the attacks are highlighted below.
On Aug. 6, a total of 12 local national contractors were killed in two separate attacks occurring in Kunar and Ghazni provinces respectively when a radio-controlled improvised explosive device detonated and small arms fire followed. In both cases, the Afghan civilians were members of a construction crew working to improve the roads.
On Aug. 10, a unit from 173rd Brigade Combat Team, Task Force Bayonet, reported they were attacked by two to three enemy fighters with rocket-propelled grenades in Logar province. The unit didn’t have positive identification on the Taliban and did not return fire. One child was killed by the attack and two more were wounded by shrapnel. The unit escorted the children and their father to the nearest hospital where one child died of his wounds.
On Aug. 11, a 7‑year-old Afghan boy was killed in Logar province when he reached down and touched a Taliban-emplaced improvised explosive device. The boy was in the area herding sheep.
Also on Aug 11, the first day of Ramazan, Taliban fighters fired four rocket-propelled grenades in the vicinity of a mosque near Asadabad. One of the grenades exploded near the mosque, breaking windows and knocking down a tree. No one was injured in the attack but local workers had to quickly perform extensive clean-up operations to restore the mosque to serviceable condition for Ramazan worship.
According to a report issued yesterday by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, Afghan civilian casualties have increased 31 percent in 2010 compared to the same time period in 2009. “Three quarters of all civilian casualties were linked to Anti-Government Elements (AGEs), an increase of 53 percent from 2009,” the report reads. In RC-East specifically, the number of civilian casualties caused by insurgents is closer to nine out of ten, according to compiled tracking data.
“The deliberate killing of unarmed, innocent Afghan civilians has unfortunately become commonplace by the Taliban,” said Brig. Gen. Warren E. Phipps, deputy commanding general (support), CJTF-101 and RC-East. “Coalition and Afghan National Security Forces are continually working to stop these atrocious acts. It is incomprehensible how the Taliban can claim to care about the Afghan people, yet deliberately and recklessly injure and kill them in their misguided attempts to hold Afghanistan back from the peace and prosperity it so richly deserves,” Phipps added.
The latest attacks are demonstrative of a sharp increase in the number of Afghan civilians being killed and injured daily since Mullah Omar reversed the Taliban stance on trying to avoid civilian casualties and energized his followers to deliberately attack ordinary Afghan citizens. Many of the victims of these attacks are Afghan children at play as well as the very Afghan civilians who are engaged in work designed to improve infrastructure in Afghanistan.
Compiled from International Security Assistance Force Joint Command News Releases