Govt Wants Peace, But Committed to Defense: Andarab

Minister of Interior Massoud Andarabi said that the Afghan government strongly believes in peace and has not declared a war against anyone; however, it’s up to to the Taliban to decide on a path of peace or war this spring.

“The Afghan government has not declared any operation for the month of Hamal (March), because we are still committed to peace and believe that the door for peace should remain open,” said Andarabi.

The Taliban usually announces its offensive in the spring.

Andarabi underlined the military capability of the Afghan security forces to defend the nation against threats.

“There is planning about the spring operations which is aimed to help the security forces thwart threats in the vulnurable regions,” said Enamuddin Rahmani, the police chief of Kunduz province in northern Afghanistan.

“We demand the govt focus on the security of the highways and districts,” said Mohammad Yousuf Ayoubi, the head of the Kunduz provincial council.

The continued violence:

Data collected by TOLOnews shows that 270 civilians and security force members were killed and 173 more were wounded in various security incidents across the country in February.

The findings show that 166 security incidents, including magnetic IED blasts, roadside bomb blasts, targeted attacks and Taliban offensives, occurred in Afghanistan in February.

The data shows that the February casualties are slightly less than what was reported by TOLOnews in January.

This comes as the fate of the peace process is uncertain and concerns over the coming spring “fighting season” are elevated.

TOLOnews’ data was confirmed by independent sources to prepare this report.

In January, TOLOnews findings indicated that 271 people were killed and 347 others were wounded in the country in January.

Meanwhile, Afghan Republic negotiator Nader Nadery says that 1,523 civilians, including civil society activists, have been killed in the country following the Doha agreement.

He says Afghans “are outraged by this degree of violence” and that “they want peace and an immediate ceasefire.”

UN portrays grim picture of Afghan conflict:

There was a rise in civilians killed and injured in Afghanistan following the start of peace negotiations in September, according to a report released by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the UN Human Rights Office on February 23.
The overall number of civilian casualties in 2020 was 8,820 (3,035 killed and 5,785 inured), which fell below 10,000 for the first time since 2013 and was 15 per cent down from 2019.

The Afghanistan Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict Annual Report 2020 documented civilian casualties in the last quarter of the year.

“2020 could have been the year of peace in Afghanistan. Instead, thousands of Afghan civilians perished due to the conflict,” said Deborah Lyons, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan.

“This important report has the overriding objective of providing the parties responsible with the facts, and recommendations, so they take immediate and concrete steps to protect civilians. I urge them not to squander a single day in taking the urgent steps to avoid more suffering,” Deborah Lyons said.

The report said that for a seventh consecutive year, UNAMA documented more than 3,000 civilians killed in a single year, with Afghanistan remaining among the deadliest places in the world to be a civilian.

The report detailed the impact on Afghan women and children. “They make up 43 per cent of all casualties: 30 percent were children and 13 percent women,” according to the report.

Afghanistan peace negotiations, which began between representatives of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban in Qatar on September 12, “failed to alleviate the scale of civilian harm, a key indicator of violence levels. Instead, there was an escalation of violence with disturbing trends and consequences,” the report said.