Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Civilians Caught Between Taleban and NATO

Victims of running battles and bombardment say they have had enough.
In the village of Zangi Abad, people have gathered to collect the bodies of relatives killed in a NATO bombing three days earlier.

The air strike, in Kandahar’s Panjwai district, killed 42 people.

They are just some of the civilians who have died, caught in the middle of a war between NATO and Afghan forces and the Taleban.

Haji Abdullah lost 21 relatives, including his wife and children. He received some money as compensation, but then the Taleban threatened him for accepting cash from the government.

“The Taleban beat my son and said we had sold the blood of the martyrs to the government,” he said.

The Taleban, too, are responsible for many civilian deaths.

On October 5, a suicide bomber attacked a vehicle travelling from Lashkar Gah to Kandahar city. All the passengers were killed, except for Ehsanullah, a young boy who lost his father in the attack.

“All the people died. Nobody was left alive,” says Ehsanullah.

Faiz Mohammad’s son was killed in another suicide attack, which happened in Helmand on August 19.

“It is God’s will. The whole family is sick with grief and sorrow,” he says.

Civilians have suffered more this year than in any other since the fall of the Taleban in 2001. The Associated Press reports that over 300 civilians have been killed by international forces this year and about the same number by the Taliban.

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