Published: Mon, July 17, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

UN Says Record Number Of Afghan Civilians Killed

UN Says Record Number Of Afghan Civilians Killed

The report notes that the increase in aerial operations and the use of pressure-place devices in civilian-populated areas led to an increase in women and child casualties as well.

Although there was an overall decrease in civilian casualties in the first six months of 2017, there was an increase in injuries and deaths from improvised explosive devices (IED).

The U.N. says that represents a 2 percent rise from the same period the previous year.

Other pro-government forces, such as the United States, accounted for 327 civilian deaths and 618 injuries, a 21 percent decrease from a year ago.

Suicide attacks and complex attacks were responsible for killing 259 civilians, and injuring 892, including an attack in Kabul on May 31 in which 92 civilians were killed.

Between Jan. 1 and June 30, 1,662 civilians were killed, an increase of 2 percent over the then-record-high number of civilians killed during same period a year ago. It was the single deadliest incident documented by UNAMA since 2001, according to the report.

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"The human cost of this awful conflict in Afghanistan - loss of life, destruction and vast suffering - is far too high", Tadamichi Yamamoto, the secretary-general's special representative for Afghanistan, said in a statement Monday.

"The continued use of indiscriminate, disproportionate and illegal IEDs [improvised explosive devices] by anti-government elements is particularly appalling and must immediately stop".

Save the Children expressed alarm at the heavy toll - a third of all civilian deaths - on the country's youth.

The number of civilians wounded in the same period fell 1 percent to 3,581, the report says.

In a report released Monday, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein called the numbers "horrifying", adding that they "can never fully convey the sheer human suffering of the people of Afghanistan".

The insurgents have expanded their footprint in Afghanistan since US and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces formally concluded their combat mission at the end of 2014, and the Taliban now control a number of districts across the country.

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UNAMA annual reports indicate that civilian casualties were on the rise from the withdrawal of many worldwide troops from Afghanistan after 2011 and the official end of NATO's combat mission in 2014.

A total of 174 women lost their lives and another 462 were injured, whereas 436 children died and 1,141 were injured.

Most civilian casualties occurred in Kabul (19 per cent), followed by the southern provinces of Helmand and Kandahar, and Nangarhar (east).

UNAMA commended the Afghan security forces for their efforts in reducing civilian casualties from ground engagements by 10 percent.

According to the UN's figures, more than 26,500 civilians have died and almost 49,000 have been injured as a result of armed conflict in Afghanistan since January 2009.

The UN reports include only incidents that have been confirmed after a thorough verification process.

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