The assault on the Afghan civilians dates back to a dark and cold day; 24, December 1979. It was on this day the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan from ground and air killing men, women and children. The war crippled every single system that existed in Afghanistan and sent its people to Stone Age. 34 years from that day war still goes on in Afghanistan in which men, women and children are still being killed. With billions of dollars foreign aid gone into the country, infrastructure is still of a quality that does not equal to the 21st century. Corruption and war has taken a turn for the worse with new brutal groups arising in different regions. Today, Afghanistan and its people need our help more than ever with a significant number of people leaving Afghanistan on a daily basis. What happens to those that remain in the country?
Since 2009, the war in Afghanistan has caused 47,745 civilian casualties with 17,774 Afghan civilians killed and 29,971 injured. The UN’s Annual Report on Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict 2014 shows that on average 10 civilians killed and 18 civilians were injured each day of the year. The year 2014 was the deadliest year since the UN started keeping track in 2007 with the highest number of civilian casualties recorded.
Civilians are caught in the middle of the battles between the pro- and anti government forces. Civilian deaths and injuries from ground engagements, operations and attacks by pro-government forces rose significantly with 921 civilian casualties. This is an increase of 141 per cent from 2013. An increase in civilian casualties by anti-government elements was also documented with 1,551 civilian casualties, up 51 per cent from 2013.
It is important to note that these figures are from the Annual Report on Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict and this report may not contain all the incidents and civilians deaths. This is particularly the case for areas that are remote and have little or no road access, so in reality the actual civilian casualties may well be much higher.
Perhaps, what makes this conflict more complex is the fact that not only are civilians caught in the crossfire and being killed but there is no air ambulance or effective ground ambulance service for the civilians with Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, which has 22 districts and a population of 4.373 million reportedly only having less than dozen official governmental ambulances. As for provinces other than the capital the number of ambulances are either nil or close to nil.
Road Traffic Accidents Deaths is another big factor that claims many innocent lives. According to the latest WHO data published in may 2014, deaths due to Road Traffic Accidents in Afghanistan is on average 18 persons per day.
It was for this reason Al-Mouwasat Welfare Organisation (AMWO) was set up in Afghanistan and the backbone charity Human Relief Mission (HRM) was set up and registered in UK. HRM and AMWO both have been working tirelessly to provide the people of Afghanistan an effective, fast and rapid ambulance service. The first of its kind in the history of Afghanistan, never before in the history of Afghanistan existed a system which provides Free Emergency Ambulance Service but also allows the public to take advantage of the ambulances in non-emergency transfers from home to hospitals; free of charge or at an affordable price (to regenerate the cost of fuel). Our ambulances have taken part in many rescue missions and are continuously working with other local and regional partners to improve its services.
In many part of the world if one comes across an incident they pull out their phones from their pockets and immediately contact the ambulance services. This does not exist in Afghanistan and public are forced to watch people die as they cannot help and cannot get access to the ambulance service. Currently HRM and AMWO have partially covered two eastern provinces of Afghanistan and are looking for ways to expand and cover the rest of Afghanistan. Let’s put a full stop to this and work together to save lives.