83 civilians have been killed and 119 others wounded since February 29, when the US struck a peace deal with the Taliban in Doha, capital of Qatar, to end nearly a two decade long war in Afghanistan, according to Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC).
The AIHRC says the victims include civilian service employees of the Afghan government, tribal elders, religious scholars, and other civilians who were killed in assassination attempts and hostages taking operations. “Eight women and eight children are among the dead civilians,” the AIHRC said, adding that 15 women and 16 children were wounded during the period.
According to the Commission, 50 percent of the deadly incidents have been committed by the Taliban and perpetrators of the remaining 50 percent are terrorists affiliated with the Islamic State –Khurasan Province or Daesh and other unknown armed individuals.
“During this period, 50 civilians have been abducted by the Taliban and the human rights commission is not informed about their fate (where-about) so far,” the statement further noted.
The Commission reiterates that killing and abducting civilians, civilian services employees of the government, and those who are not directly involved in the war, is a war crime. It has again called on all warring parties, particularly on the Taliban, to stop killing civilians and civilian employees of the government.
This comes while the warring parties are apparently making progress in line with the US-Taliban peace deal as both, the Afghan government and the Taliban, have released first batch of prisoners as part of the deal. So far, the government has released 300 Taliban prisoners in Kabul and the Taliban have released 20 prisoners of the government, as the group claim, in Kandahar to move forward with the process.
Tadin Khan, police chief of Kandahar, meanwhile, has said that all 20 hostages who have been freed by the militant group are civilians.
The prisoner swap was welcomed by the US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, earlier this morning, April 13. He further went on to describe the release of prisoners as “an important step” in the peace process and reduction of violence.
“Both sides should accelerate efforts to meet targets specified in the US-Taliban agreement as soon as possible,” the US peace envoy further noted addressing the Afghan government and the Taliban.