Mon, May 1, 2017 | updated 12:17 AM IST

NATO should strengthen civilian protection in Afghanistan: Human Rights Watch

Updated: Jul 06, 2016 16:55 IST      
NATO should strengthen civilian protection in Afghanistan: Human Rights Watch

Brussels, July 6 (ANI): Human Rights Watch today said that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) member countries should endorse concrete measures to improve the protection of civilians in the conflict in Afghanistan.

Human Rights Watch in a statement said the NATO should press the Afghan government to curtail abuses by its security forces, including the military's misuse of schools, attacks on healthcare facilities, and recruitment of children.

It said that NATO should appoint a high-level envoy on protection of civilians to provide expert analysis and advice.

"The Warsaw Summit is a crucial opportunity for NATO to commit to a more robust role in reducing Afghan civilian casualties," said Brad Adams, Asia director. "Despite NATO's reduced military presence and redefined support mission, the alliance is well situated to make good on its pledges to help protect civilians," the statement said.

The statement pointed out that though Taliban and other insurgent groups have been responsible for the vast majority of attacks that have caused significant civilian casualties, Afghan government forces are increasingly putting civilians in harm's way by occupying schools, raiding medical facilities, and recruiting children.

The Human Rights Watch asserted that such actions imperil the very development goals Afghanistan's donors and that they undermine the legitimacy of the Afghan government, and fuel support for the insurgents.

Human Rights Watch also claimed that it has documented the extensive military use of schools in contested areas of Baghlan province and pressed that the practice is on the rise in other conflict-affected areas of Afghanistan.

Throwing light on the situation, it said the schools become battlegrounds as the Taliban counter-attack government positions, leaving the buildings damaged.

It also said that Afghan security forces misuse the schools leaving devastating effect on the right to education, affecting tens of thousands of children at all educational levels, as well as teachers and administrators.

With the schools being used by the soldiers, it said that the families are unlikely to allow girls to attend school which will harm girls' access to education.

The statement said that the healthcare facilities have also been at risk and both insurgent forces and the Afghan security forces are responsible for these abuses.

The Human Right Watch also highlighted the recent UN report that both Taliban and government-backed forces use child soldiers, and cases of child recruitment more than doubled in 2015 compared with the previous year.

The statement said that in its 2016 report, it documented a significant increase in child recruitment in the northeast by the Taliban and that even the pro-government forces are also responsible for exploiting children.

Human Rights Watch Asia Director, Brad Adams said that NATO should deliver on its pledges and produce concrete measures to help protect Afghan civilians from armed conflict.

"NATO is uniquely placed to improve protection for Afghan civilians due to its high-level engagement with those in a position to stop abuses, including the very officials who are personally responsible for abuses," he added.

Meanwhile, the NATO Summit scheduled to be held in Warsaw, Poland on July 8 and 9 will discuss military and other support for the Afghan government. (ANI)

Pakistan extends JuD chief Hafiz Saeed's house arrest

Updated: Apr 30, 2017 23:20 IST     

Islamabad [Pakistan], April 30 (ANI): Pakistan has decided to extend the house arrest of Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, along with his aides Abdullah Ubaid, Zafar Iqbal, Abdur Rehman Abid and Qazi Kashif Niaz, for another three months.

Full Story >>

UKPNP to Pak: No annexation of Gilgit-Baltistan

Updated: Apr 30, 2017 22:01 IST     

Leeds [U.K.], April 30 (ANI): The third convention of the United Kashmir People's National Party (UKPNP), United Kingdom was held on Sunday in Leeds, primarily aiming to set a blueprint in its crusade against Pakistan's annexation of Gilgit-Baltistan as its fifth province.

Full Story >>

Trump calls ObamaCare 'dead', says new healthcare on its way

Updated: Apr 30, 2017 20:56 IST     

New Delhi [India], April 30 (ANI): Continuing his vociferous campaign for the GOP healthcare plan, United States President Donald Trump took another potshot at ObamaCare, calling it "dead", while also saying that a new healthcare plan was on its way.

Full Story >>

Kathmandu [Nepal], April 30 (ANI): Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs Bimalendra Nidhi on Sunday announced his resignation from the post as a mark of resentment over the impeachment of Chief Justice Sushila Karki.

Full Story >>

Democrats have become party of 'obstruction': Trump

Updated: Apr 30, 2017 19:14 IST     

New Delhi [India], April 30 (ANI): United States President Donald Trump on Sunday launched a scathing attack on the Democrats, saying that they were without a leader and had become the party of 'obstruction'.

Full Story >>

Sharif calls meeting to discuss Dawn Leaks inquiry report

Updated: Apr 30, 2017 17:42 IST     

Islamabad [Pakistan], April 30 (ANI): Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has called a special meeting of close aides in Lahore on Sunday to discuss the prevailing national political situation including the Dawn Leaks inquiry report.

Full Story >>

London [UK], April 30 (ANI): The Free Balochistan Movement (FBM) has announced to organise simultaneous protests in many cities of the world on May 28 to protest against Pakistan's nuclear weapons and China-Pakistan nexus in Balochistan.

Full Story >>

Islamabad [Pakistan], April 30 (ANI): The Pakistan Government has asked the special court to precede the high treason case against former president Pervez Musharraf on an early basis.

Full Story >>

Trump invites Philippines President Duterte to White House

Updated: Apr 30, 2017 14:13 IST     

Washington D.C. [United States], April 30 (ANI): United States President Donald Trump has invited his Philippines counterpart Rodrigo Duterte to the White House in a phone call, that also addressed regional security in Southeast Asia and the Philippines' drug war.

Full Story >>

New York [U.S.], Apr. 30 (ANI): Speaking at the correspondents dinner, from which Donald Trump was missing, the White House Correspondents' Association hit back at the United States President for his steady and consistent attack on the media and sent him a clear message- 'we are not fake news'.

Full Story >>

New York [U.S.], Apr. 30 (ANI): The Daily Show's Hasan Minhaj stole the show at the 2017 White House Correspondents' Dinner, as he spared no mercy and took meaty bites out of President Donald Trump, who was missing from the event.

Full Story >>

Trump marks 100 days in office with attack on American media

Updated: Apr 30, 2017 08:11 IST     

Pennsylvania [U.S.A.] Apr.30 (ANI): U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday marked his 100 days in office by thanking his supporters in a rally at Pennsylvania, claiming historic action on his agenda and attacking sections of the American media for 'misleading' people.

Full Story >>

Cairo [Egypt] Apr.30 (ANI): Pope Francis on Saturday said that a third country should try to step in to reconcile the growing tension between North Korea and the US, adding, this heated up situation risked the world of a devastating war.

Full Story >>

Berlin [Germany] Apr.30 (ANI): German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday said that she has developed a good working relationship with the United States President Donald Trump, despite having a frosty start.

Full Story >>

Cuba: Passenger plane crashes, killing 39 people on board

Updated: Apr 30, 2017 01:31 IST     

London [U.K.] Apr.30 (ANI): A passenger plane Antonov An-26 aircraft crashed in Cuba reportedly killing all 39 people on board.

Full Story >>

London [U.K.], April 30 (ANI): A British Airways flight from London to Delhi on Saturday returned to the Heathrow airport after air pressure inside the cabin dropped midair.

Full Story >>

Karachi [Pakistan], April 29 (ANI): Pakistan's Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Saturday said that the notification regarding the Dawn Leaks would be released by his ministry, which will be in line with the recommendations made by the inquiry committee.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], April 29 (ANI): Former Pakistan ambassador to the United States Husain Haqqani on Saturday questioned the Pakistan Army's 'rejection' of the official notification cleared by the Federal Government.

Full Story >>

Tehran [Iran], Apr 29 (ANI): Lashing out at Pakistan's government for failing to prevent terror attacks against Iran from its soil, Chairman of the Iranian Parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Alaeddin Boroujerdi said that the neighboring country has become a "safe haven" for terrorist cells.

Full Story >>

Sargodha [Pakistan], April 29 (ANI): Punjab Province Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Saturday said he would quit politics if Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan is able to prove that his Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had offered the latter Rs. 10 billion to stay silent on the Panamagate case.

Full Story >>