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Editorial: Civilians the victims of both conflict sides

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A group of the Taliban fighters attacked the German consulate in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif Thursday night using an explosives-laden vehicle which rammed the high outer wall of the building to help other attackers open fire at the Afghan and German guards. Mazar-e-Sharif is the capital of relatively peaceful province of Balkh.

The blast was so powerful that it shattered the windows around the city. Official reports say that four “civilians” were killed and another 120 injured, while the number of the victims could rise, according to the provincial head of the public health department.

Taliban’s spokesman in a statement claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was carried out in retaliation for a NATO air strike on a village near the adjacent province of Kunduz last week in which around 30 civilians were killed.

German and NATO authorities have said that all the German employees of the consulate were safe and uninjured, but it was not clear how many Afghan security personnel were killed or wounded.

According to reports, German troops have shot dead two civilians on a motorbike who failed to follow the directions and warnings to stop in an area blocked by German forces.

Considering this attack and the foreign air strikes, it is clarified that only the civilians have to pay the price of the conflicts by being killed, injured and displaced. The international troops try to escape from responsibility just by apologizing and calling civilians were killed “mistakenly”.

The insurgent group actually kills civilians to take revenge of other civilians.

The helpless people don’t know who their foe is and who is their friend? Who defends them and who kills them? Both conflict sides kill them under the excuse of defending them.

The NATO-led international troops who are well experienced with a high military knowledge should be very careful in operations if they want to keep people’s trust. They are losing nation’s trust by the frequent “mistakes” that claim civilians’ lives.

They are paving the ground for the militants to kill civilians by attacking their (foreigners’) bases and organizations.

This is the government’s responsibility to prevent civilian deaths at least by the foreign forces. The president should be serious in talking to the foreign officials regarding the civilian casualties. He has to warn them against this tragedy and can even follow his predecessor who banned night raids and air strikes carried out by the NATO troops in the villages. Hamid Karzai’s measure resulted in a positive impact on the prevention of the civilian casualties.