Friday, May 21, 2010

Civilian Deaths During Military Action in Afghanistan

Prof Sibghatullah Mujaddidi, chief of Afghanistan's elders' Jirga (assembly of elders) has said that the killers of country's citizens will be made accountable.

It is indeed a convincing discourse but it requires practical measures because only issuing statements and making protest will not help solve this issue. Because for the last several years sometimes marriage ceremonies are bombed in different provinces and areas of Afghanistan and sometimes shrines are bombed and sometimes foreign troops enter houses and get the Afghan children bitten by dogs.

No Positive Outcome
After every such incident, forceful statements are issued, protests are made; members of parliament stage walk outs (from the parliament), but so far no positive outcome has been achieved. Neither bombing on civilians halted nor the life of common man was protected. Sometimes Afghan President Hamid Karzai announces that foreign troops will not carry out operations at night. He issues a decree but soon after its issuance sometimes civilians, threshing wheat crop in Ningarhar, die in bombing and sometimes marriage ceremonies are bombed.

What is actually needed to protect the lives of common people? Practical measures are needed in this regard. This can also be done that religious scholars, prominent elders along with the President and authorities sit down with commanders of foreign troops. Public representatives should discuss in detail with foreign troops and government and evolve a permanent solution. They should listen to people's complaints and in the light of these complaints a policy should be adopted to reach an immediate and practical solution as this issue cannot be solved through a mere statement or by making protest. This issue can neither be solved by making apologies nor by financial compensations for the families of the deceased and injured.

Political and Religious Responsibility
Being head of the state and being public representatives, the President and members of the parliament respectively have the responsibility to protect the lives of the citizens and avoid the situation from getting worse as the protection of lives of the citizens is their moral, political and religious responsibility. Practical steps are needed to be taken to achieve this goal and to give their citizens a feeling that there leaders are attentive to their problems.

Therefore, the authorities must hold serious talks with chiefs of foreign troops and make them understand that mostly civilians are being killed in their operations. They (foreign troops) have also clear proofs of this (civilian casualties). The foreign troops have to be convinced that if this series of civilian casualties continues, its outcome will not be in the interest of present government and foreigners.

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