Afghan Journal

Lifting the veil on conflict, culture and politics

Resurgent Taliban target women and children

August 11, 2010


Civilian casualties in the worsening war in Afghanistan are up just over 30 percent in the current year,  the United Nations said in a mid-year report this week, holding the Taliban responsible for three-quarters of the deaths or injuries.

More worrying, women and children seem to be taking the brunt of the violence directed by a resurgent Taliban, which will only stoke more concern about the wisdom of seeking reconciliation with the hardline Islamist group.

Indeed the Taliban have been blamed for a series of horrific assaults on women in recent weeks,  which must be distasteful to even those pushing for a deal with them as a way to end the nine-year conflict.

A 48-year-old widow was given dozens of lashes in public and then executed for alleged adultery by the insurgents in the northwestern Badghis province on Sunday, according to a Reuters report, citing a provincial police officer.  This came hard on the heels of a Time magazine cover picture of an 18-year-old woman allegedly disfigured by the Taliban for trying to flee abuse by her husband.

The UN report, documenting attacks on women and children, makes for equally grim reading. It said that in the first six months of this year, 55 percent more children were killed or wounded by the Taliban and other anti-government groups than in the same period in 2009. The number of women killed or wounded by the Taliban and other insurgents increased by six percent. Here is a PDF of the report.

It’s not just accidental deaths that we are talking of here, or people getting caught in the middle of crossfire between soldiers and insurgents.  These were targeted killings, especially in the case of children, often suspected of  spying for the government. Here are three cases listed in the report :

- A 17-year-old student was abducted allegedly by the Taliban from his home in Wardak province on March 8. His body was found the following morning. The Taliban had reportedly accused him of being part of the government.

- On June 29, a 12-year-old boy was publicly executed allegedly by insurgents in a district centre in Ghazni province. The motive for killing the boy has not yet been established.

-  A seven year old boy – yes he was all of seven – was publicly hanged in Sanjin district in Helmand province reportedly by the Taliban. Although tribal tensions may have been a factor, the Taliban had accused the boy of spying for the government.

The insurgents also targeted anyone with a taste for music or films.  The UN report said it found cases in which improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were deliberately planted outside shops selling music, DVDs and sweets.  In Khost, two ice cream shops were bombed twice, wounding children. In Nangahar province, an explosive device detonated as dozens of children stood around a convoy of foreign and Afghan army soldiers. Four children were killed and more than 50 wounded. The home-made device was reportedly filled with shrapnel, and other sharp objects.

Bombs have also exploded near parks frequented by women and children, the report said.

The Taliban also remain implacably opposed to education, especially the education of girls. Night letters were disseminated throughout the southern, southeastern, central and northern regions of Afghanistan, warning  teachers and pupils not to attend schools. The head of a girls’ school in Pul-i-Khumri, the provincial capital of Baghlan, received threat letters allegedly from the Taliban, warning her to close the school. They said they would kill the girls if she ignored their warning.

In several cases, the insurgents placed IEDs on routes used by female students to walk to school, resulting in casualties.


what else could be expected of islam hating hindu

Posted by omar | Report as abusive

This is written by a Muslim hating Indian?? What a surprise!!

Interestingly he fails to mention that in the report, Afghan Policemen are actually considered civilians….

I wonder how the figures would look if they were not?

How hard it can be to find a real reporter these days..
Something like that can show that when relevant information is withheld the “article” becomes opinion, even intentionally misleading, not reporting…

Posted by brian | Report as abusive

Although I wouldn’t try to pass it off as irrelevant, the use of police as civilians actually helps this articles point. It may show falsely when considering total numbers of civilian casualties.However, insofar as women and children are concerned, it wouldn’t adversely effect the % increase in attacks [55% for children 6% for women vs. last year]. Presumably, the real number of ISAF civkills is more or less the same, but with a higher percentage if you discount police.

Keep in mind the articles title…Resurgent taliban target women and children

Posted by JIM | Report as abusive

My goodness, what gentlemen those Taliban are; how brave of them to kill defenseless women and children. I am sure Allah would be pleased.

Posted by borisjimbo | Report as abusive

You are abiased reporter. I promised not to comment on your articles, since you manupulate my comments, but I must say you should atleast be loyal to your profession: Is it too much to ask, there are other associated professions such as Think Tank, NY times and Washington Post, why do’nt you apply for a job there?
We are straight forward bloggers, neither dishonest or have any specific motives except to exchange our views and learn from each others. We are not in a position to make any decisions on your report so is it too much to ask, be hard but fair please.
Rex Minor

Posted by rex Minor | Report as abusive

Who took the photo?

Posted by ntanier | Report as abusive

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