Afghanistan casualties remain high

Afghanistan casualties remain high

More than 10,000 Afghan civilians were killed or wounded in violence a year ago, the United Nations said on Thursday, with militant bombings the main cause while air strikes by US and government forces inflicted a rising toll.

A surge in suicide attacks and bombings in Afghanistan killed a record number - nearly 2,300 - of civilians last year, the United Nations said Thursday, more than any previous year of the conflict on record.

A total of 3,438 people were killed while 7,015 others were injured, indicating an overall reduction of 9 per cent compared to 2016, the United Nations said, adding that it doesn't have a complete overview over the situation in some parts of the country due to Taliban control.

The reports said the second leading cause of civilian casualties was ground engagements between antigovernment and pro-government forces, although there was a decline of 19 percent from the record levels seen in 2016.

Pro-government forces caused a fifth of civilian casualties with 16 percent attributed to Afghan forces, 2 per cent to worldwide forces and 1 percent each to pro-government armed groups and undetermined pro-government forces, the United Nations said.

The use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) - suicide and non-suicide - by armed groups led to the majority of the casualties previous year, with ground engagements accounting for the second-highest number of victims.

According to the press release, at least 65 percent of casualties were due to the activity of anti-government elements, including the Islamic State terrorist group (IS, banned in Russia) and Taliban radical movement. "I am particularly appalled by the continued indiscriminate and unlawful use of IEDs such as suicide bombs and pressure-plate devices in civilian populated areas. The people of Afghanistan, year after year, continue to live in insecurity and fear, while those responsible for ending lives and blighting lives escape punishment", said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein. The militants have responded with attacks in Kabul in the past few weeks, killing almost 150 people.


The capital remained a top target, with 16 percent of all casualties during the year - a total of 1,831 people killed and wounded - occurring in Kabul alone.

"Such attacks are prohibited under worldwide humanitarian law and are likely, in most cases, to constitute war crimes".

"It has indeed been a hard year".

But she raised concerns about increasing numbers of casualties in aerial operations conducted by Afghan and global forces. UNAMA documented that, in 2017, 359 women were killed - a rise of five per cent - and 865 injured.

"We can not sleep day and night due to the frightening sounds of firing", an 11-year-old girl injured by a bullet during a ground engagement in Arghandab district, Zabul province in September, told UNAMA.

Less than 5 per cent of the civilian casualties were caused by Afghan government forces and their allies, the worldwide troops, while 11 per cent of the casualties were caused by unattributed cross-fire during fighting between Afghan forces and anti-government elements, the report said.

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