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UN Urges Protection Of Afghan Civilians

A boy wounded in the July 10 suicide attack that killed 12 children in southern Afghanistan (AFP) July 18, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- The UN Security Council has urged all forces in Afghanistan to do everything they can to avoid civilian deaths.

The 15-member council also condemned Taliban and Al-Qaeda insurgents for killing innocent Afghans in suicide bombings and using civilians as "human shields" during battles.

"The Security Council condemns in the strongest terms all suicide attacks against civilians and Afghan and international forces and their destabilizing effects on the security and stability of Afghanistan,” Wang Guangya of China, the current council president, read from the statement.

"The council deeply regrets all losses sustained by the local population, the national security forces and international military and civilian personnel and reiterates its call for all feasible steps to be taken to ensure the protection of civilian life and for international humanitarian and human rights law to be upheld."

Afghanistan's UN ambassador, Zahir Tanin, said the Security Council's statement reflected the Afghan government's concerns about both civilian deaths in foreign military operations and the insurgent tactic of hiding among the local population.

The Security Council also called on the Afghan government to implement better its drug control strategy, expressing concern about "evidence of growing links between the insurgency and the drug trade in the south of Afghanistan."

Continuing Violence

The statement came a week after a suicide attack killed 17 people, including 12 children, in a crowded market in southern Afghanistan.

In fresh violence today, at least 12 people were killed in separate attacks across the country.

Six Afghan police were killed in the southern province of Zabul, while in the southeastern province of Paktia, a Filipino road engineer and an Afghan guard were killed in two separate attacks.

In the southern town of Khost, a suicide attack against the provincial police headquarters killed two police and one civilian. Insurgents killed a policeman in the eastern Nuristan Province overnight.

And in the capital, Kabul, a suicide bomber targeted a Turkish diplomatic convoy, wounding one Afghan civilian and killing the bomber, who was on foot.

(with Reuters, AP)

RFE/RL Afghanistan Report

RFE/RL Afghanistan Report

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