Civilian deaths increase in Afghanistan: UN report
Kabul, July 17 (IANS): The number of civilian deaths increased in Afghanistan in the first half of this year, a UN report revealed on Monday.
According to the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) report, a total of 1,662 civilians were killed, which is 2 per cent more than during the same period in 2016, reports Efe news.
“The human cost of this ugly war in Afghanistan, loss of life, destruction and immense suffering, is far too high,” Tadamichi Yamamoto, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and head of UNAMA, said in the report.
The report also says that the number of minor victims rose by 9 per cent, while the number of female victims increased by 23 per cent.
A total of 174 women lost their lives and another 462 were injured, whereas 436 children died and 1,141 were injured.
According to UNAMA, the increase in the number of casualties among women and children can be partly attributed to the use of improvised explosive devices (IED) and airstrikes in populated areas. According to the UNAMA, 40 per cent of civilian casualties – 596 casualties and 1,483 injured – were caused by anti-government forces using IEDs, including suicide bombings.
Suicide and complex attacks (related to insurgent attacks on installations) increased by 15 percent during this period, with 3,581 people injured between January 1 and June 30, the report added. 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.
The Afghan government said 150 people, including security force personnel, died in the attack, which was the worst since the US invasion in 2001.
Most civilian casualties occurred in Kabul (19 per cent), followed by the southern provinces of Helmand and Kandahar, and Nangarhar (east). The report holds anti-government forces responsible for 67 per cent of the casualties (1,141 dead and 2,348 injured), which is 12 per cent more than for the same period last year.