Office of the National Security Council statement in response to the UNAMA provisional report on civilian casualties

We note the provisional report by UNAMA and underscore that Government’s findings from the field demonstrate that the Taliban and their aligned terrorist groups are responsible for the vast majority of the civilian casualties in Afghanistan, either directly or by creating an enabling environment for other terrorist groups such as ISIS to attack civilians. Given the provisional nature of the report, we will continue to work with UNAMA to help refine its findings to better reflect the battlefield statistics.

Our data from April 2020 shows that the Taliban killed 141 civilians and wounded 285 others though the use of indiscriminate means such as IEDs and targeted attacks such as assassinations. Evidence and intelligence gathered by the Government show that the Taliban are behind the recent barbaric attacks on the funeral in Nangarhar and the maternity ward in Kabul that killed newborn babies, pregnant women, and nurses.

These heinous attacks occurred after the U.S.-Taliban deal in Doha and the Taliban’s commitment to decrease violence. Because the Taliban see terrorism as the only path, they have repeatedly rejected calls by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the United Nations and Muslims countries to reduce violence during holy month of Ramadan and to enable an effective respond to COVID-19.

The Government maintained a defensive posture for more than two months during which time the Taliban continued their violence, forcing the Government to respond in order to protect the people and the country’s infrastructure. ANDSF have special orders from the President and security-sector leaders to continue to implement the procedures and policies in place to mitigate harm to civilian lives and property.