Afghanistan: Increasing bombs, escalating suffering

July 26, 2008

The following article is abridged from

According to a reporter for the New York Times, who was given access to the Combined Air and Space Operations Center for the US-led occupation forces in Afghanistan, orders for air-strikes in Afghanistan have increased in recent months.

Statistics compiled at the centre, during the first six months of this year indicate that 1853 munitions were dropped by air over Afghanistan — more than twice the 754 dropped in Iraq during the same period.

In June alone, 646 bombs and missiles were used in Afghanistan, the second highest monthly total since the end of major combat operations in 2002.

In a July 9, statement, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) deplored the high number of civilian casualties caused by recent attacks in different parts of the country. At least 250 civilians are reported to have been killed or injured in various incidents since July 4.

"Civilians continue to be killed and wounded in the ongoing hostilities. We call on all parties to the conflict, in the conduct of their military operations, to distinguish at all times between civilians and fighters and to take constant care to spare civilians", said Franz Rauchenstein, head of the ICRC's delegation in Kabul.

"Civilians must never be the target of an attack, unless they take a direct part in the fighting. These fundamental requirements of international humanitarian law, also known as the laws and customs of war, are binding on all parties to an armed conflict."

Whatever the means and methods of warfare chosen by the parties to the conflict, they must take all necessary precautions to verify that targets are indeed military objectives and that attacks will not cause excessive civilian casualties and damage, the ICRC added.

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