Annual Report: Afghanistan 2010

May 28, 2010

Annual Report: Afghanistan 2010

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  • On 11 February, the Taleban launched suicide bomb and gun attacks on three Afghan government buildings in Kabul, killing at least 26 people, 20 of them civilians, and injuring more than 60 others, mostly civilians.
  • On 17 September, a suicide car bomb on an International Security Assistance Force convoy in Kabul killed at least 18 people, including 10 civilians, and injured more than 30 civilians. The Taleban claimed responsibility for the attack.
  • At least 30 civilians were killed and 31 wounded in attacks by the Taleban on election day.
  • On 8 October, a Taleban suicide car bomb exploded outside the Indian Embassy in Kabul, killing 13 civilians and two police officers and injuring another 60 civilians and 13 police officers.
  • On 28 October, Taleban fighters stormed a UN guesthouse in Kabul, killing five foreign UN employees, one Afghan civilian and two Afghan security personnel. The attack was the deadliest in years for the UN in Afghanistan, leading it to relocate more than 600 foreign staff outside the country. The Taleban and other armed groups continued to attack school buildings and target teachers and pupils. A total of 458 schools, the majority in the south, were closed across the country due to insecurity, affecting 111,180 students. The Taleban particularly targeted girls’ schools.
  • In May, a gas attack on a girls' school in Kapisa province resulted in more than 84 students being taken to hospital.

Violations by Afghan and international forces

International forces revised their rules of engagement to minimize civilian casualties, but civilian deaths as a result of operations by international and Afghan security forces increased in the first half of the year. NATO and US forces lacked a coherent and consistent mechanism for investigating civilian casualties and providing accountability and compensation to victims.

  • On 4 September, NATO airstrikes near the village of Amarkhel in Kunduz province killed up to 142 people, of whom reportedly 83 were civilians. Although it was in a position to do so, NATO failed to effectively warn civilians that they were going to launch an imminent attack in the area (see Germany entry).
  • On 27 August, NATO forces supporting Afghan army units attacked a clinic in Paktika province, where a Taleban leader was reportedly being treated. The attack violated international humanitarian law which protects combatants no longer fighting due to injury from attack.
  • On 4 May, US airstrikes in Bala Baluk district in the western province of Farah led to the deaths of more than 100 civilians. NATO and US military officials reported that Taleban militants were hiding among civilian populations to instigate attacks on civilians.

Freedom of expression – journalists

The Taleban and other armed groups stepped up attacks against Afghan journalists and blocked nearly all reporting in areas under their control. Journalists were also intimidated and attacked by the government.

The Taleban attempted to disrupt media coverage of the elections. Media workers faced intimidation and interference from supporters of President Karzai and other candidates, in particular rival presidential candidate, Abdullah Abdullah. Two journalists and two media workers were killed by government forces and armed groups, and many more were physically attacked.

As in previous years, the government failed to thoroughly investigate killings of and attacks on journalists.