Al-Qaeda Elements Are Seen In Parts Of Afghanistan: Miller

The US and NATO Forces Commander in Afghanistan Gen. Scott Miller has said that there are some indications about the movements of al-Qaeda elements in some parts of Afghanistan but gave no details about the nature of these movements.

“We have seen al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. Yes, in different parts of Afghanistan. In different parts of Afghanistan, we can find them, so it’s not one particular region, it’s across the country,” said Miller.

He said the United States will continue its cooperation and partnership with the Afghan forces and the Afghan citizens.

“I do believe that intra-Afghan dialogue is going to be very important to the peace process. Peace is something that all Afghans care about and as we move forward, that is a process and a journey, possibly that is the will of the people that peace comes to Afghanistan and certainly our relationship with Afghanistan which has been longstanding will be part of that process,” said Miller.

“We remain committed to working together with not only your leaders, the forces in the provinces, but also the people of Afghanistan,” he said.

Miller said the Resolute Support forces are focusing on precision in their operations to protect civilians.

“As we look at the current fight, any time a civilian bears the brunt of the fighting, there is nothing good about that. From a Resolute Support perspective, we are very focused on precision in our operations and protecting civilians at all cost,” said Miller.

This comes at a time that a new UN report reveals that more civilians were killed in the Afghan conflict last year than any time since records have been kept.

The report documented 3,804 civilian deaths, including 927 children, in 2018.

In total, UNAMA documented 10,993 civilian casualties (3,804 deaths and 7,189) wounded), representing a five percent increase in overall civilian casualties and an 11 percent increase in civilian deaths compared with 2017.

In this report, UNAMA attributes the majority of civilian casualties – 63 percent – to anti-government elements (37 percent to Taliban, 20 percent to Daesh, and 6 percent to undetermined anti-government elements).

According to the report, pro-government forces caused 24 percent civilian deaths (14 percent by Afghan national security forces, six percent by international military forces, and four percent by other pro-government armed groups and forces).