The rising number of civilian casualties has been the focus of a second day of talks at a Rome conference on the rule of law in Afghanistan. As his country goes through its bloodiest period since the fall of the Taliban, President Hamid Karzai said justice remains elusive in many areas: “For those Afghans living in the Southern Province of Afghanistan who face murder and destruction at the hands of terrorists or even to those civilians who inadvertently fall victim to counter-terrorism operations, demand on justice is reduced to a bleak minimum.”
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon struck a cautionary note, saying civilian casualties, would only strengthen the Taliban. “The independent Human Rights Commission has also documented distressing instances of civilian casualties resulting from the operation of international forces,” he added.
Of this year’s 600 civilian casualties, it is estimated half were killed by Afghan or international forces. Afghanistan only has 223 registered lawyers and 70 percent of inmates are still awaiting trial. According to recent surveys, Afghans consider President Karzai’s to be the most corrupt administration in the past 30 years.