I mentioned a human rights group, CIVIC, in one of my posts about civilian casualties in Afghanistan. Sarah Holewinski, executive director of CIVIC, was good enough to respond to give more of the story from her group’s side.
I was concerned that the group’s external communications dealt only with one side of the conflict with respect to dealing with civilian casualties. At one level, Holewinski gets it:
You’re absolutely right in noting that anti-government forces cause tremendous civilian harm. The Taliban’s acts of suicide bombings, IEDs and deliberately hiding out in civilian homes are egregious, and every human rights organization I know (including ours) has called for these practices to stop.
The fact is, many of these tactics are used to deliberately cause harm to civilians – no matter what the Taliban says about its own practices to protect the population. US and its partner forces in Afghanistan are entirely different; they don’t want to cause civilian harm, they understand that winning the population is a mission imperative, and they try their best to avoid civilian casualties.
We will never be able to applaud the Taliban for protecting civilians and address harm, nor will we ever be able to assess their efforts at compensation. Their acts thus far are deplorable.
I’m looking forward to more of this elsewhere from CIVIC and other such groups.
Thanks to Ms. Holewinski for this.