UN Says Record Number Of Afghan Civilians Killed

Pauline Gross
July 17, 2017

The number of civilians killed and wounded in conflict in Afghanistan in the first half of 2017 remains at the same record high level as past year, the United Nations mission in the country says.

The report confirmed that a massive truck bomb in the center of Kabul on May 31, which killed at least 90 people, was the deadliest attack since the USA -led invasion that toppled the Taliban in 2001.

Between Jan. 1 and June 30, there 1,662 civilians killed - a 2 percent increase above the previous record over the same time last year, according to the United Nations mid-year report.

"The continued use of indiscriminate, disproportionate and illegal improvised explosive devices is particularly appalling and must immediately stop", he added in a statement. This was the deadliest incident documented by UNAMA since 2001.

In total, anti-government forces killed 1,141 civilians and injured 2,348, a 12 percent increase from previous year.

The UN has condemned an increase in civilian deaths in Afghanistan in the first half of 2017, with 1,662 killed and more than 3,500 injured.

The UNAMA said the use of pressure-plate roadside bombs or IEDs and aerial operations in civilian-populated areas substantially contributed to the rise in casualties for both women and children.

"Each one of these casualty figures reflects a broken family, unimaginable trauma and suffering, and the brutal violation of people's human rights", said U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad al Hussein. "Many more have been forced from their homes and suffered lasting damage to their health, education and livelihoods".

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"The continuing national tragedy of Afghanistan must not be overlooked".

The majority of the victims were killed by anti-government forces - including the resurgent Taliban and in attacks claimed by the Islamic State, the report said, underscoring spiralling insecurity in the country almost 16 years after the U.S. invasion.

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

The figure increased to 12 per cent compared to the same period of 2016, with the Taliban militants responsible for 43 per cent of casualties, IS for 5 per cent and unidentified attackers for the rest.

"It's extremely concerning to see the number of children killed and injured by conflict increasing, reflecting the growing danger faced by young Afghans", the charity's Afghanistan country director David Skinner said in a statement. After Kabul, the highest numbers of casualties occurred in Helmand, Kandahar, Nangarhar, Uruzgan, Faryab, Herat, Laghman, Kunduz and Farah provinces.

"The decrease is attributed to a reduction in casualties caused by indirect and/or explosive weapons, mostly mortars, used by pro-government forces", UNAMA said.

In the news release, the UN Mission also noted that the report includes only those incidents that have been confirmed after a thorough verification process, meaning that the actual figures could be higher.

Other reports by GizPress

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