Afghan civilian casualties hit all-time high, says UN

07 February, 2017, 01:18 | Author: Essie Rivera
  • Security & Crime

The violence and turmoil in Afghanistan has resulted in the highest recorded number of civilian casualties in 2016, with nearly 3,500 overall deaths and an additional almost 8,000 wounded, a United Nations report revealed Monday.

The violence caused more than 11,400 civilian casualties, including around 3,500 deaths previous year, according to the annual report by the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, or UNAMA, released in Kabul Monday.

That marked a 2-per cent decrease in civilian deaths and a 6-per cent increase in civilians wounded, amounting to an overall 3-per cent increase in casualties compared to 2015. The increase was put down to a surge in casualties from unexploded bombs, shells, grenades and landmines.

While the Taliban have been making their aggressive push into cities and are still blamed by UNAMA for the bulk of civilian casualties, fears are also growing about the expanding presence of Islamic State.

The 2016 Annual Report on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict in Afghanistan, released on Monday, documents an overall 3% rise in civilian casualties - both deaths and injuries - from the previous year.

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"I am deeply saddened to report, for yet another year, another increase in civilian casualties, another all-time high figure", Tadamichi Yamamoto, the United Nations envoy to Afghanistan, told a press conference.

"The killing and maiming of thousands of Afghan civilians is deeply harrowing and largely preventable", Tadamichi Yamamoto, the United Nations' Secretary-General's Special Representative for Afghanistan told a news conference unveiling the figures [PDF link here].

"The intensification of efforts by Taliban and other anti-government element groups to seize or maintain territory led to a correlated increase in civilian casualties from ground engagements", said UNAMA. "The Kabul government and the invading forces are the cause of the civilian casualties", said a spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid.

Unexploded ordinance left behind after fighting between Taliban and government forces accounted for nearly two-thirds of child deaths. "Women continue to be brutally punished in parallel so-called "justice" processes while religious minorities are targeted as they pray in their mosques".

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