Civilian deaths in Afghanistan hit record high for second straight year

08 February, 2017, 00:43 | Author: Brian Mcdaniel
  • Kabul attacks

"A new report issued today by our colleague at the UN Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has detailed the highest number of civilian casualties ever recorded in a single year in the country, including record figures for children killed and injured in 2016", UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said at a daily news briefing here.

UNAMA documented 899 civilian casualties (209 deaths and 690 injured) in comparison to 82 civilian casualties (39 deaths and 43 injured) in 2015, the report said.

Civilian casualties caused by Daesh loyalists in Afghanistan also increased by nearly 10 times during the same time period.

Children trapped within the conflict were the most impacted, with 3,512 child casualties reported in 2016 (923 deaths and 2,589 injured), the report continued, which is a 24-percent spike from the previous year, and the highest figure recorded to date.

The conflict in Afghanistan has killed 24,841 civilians and injured 45,347 since 2009, according to the United Nations report.

As the Afghan air force got more attack aircraft and the United States ramped up its air campaign against both Islamic State and the Taliban, casualties caused by air strikes increased 99 per cent compared with 2015, hitting levels not seen since 2009.

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The year 2016 was also the second year since North Atlantic Treaty Organisation handed over nationwide security duties to the nascent Afghan National Security and Defense Forces (ANSF).

Between Jan. 1 and December 31, 2016, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) recorded 3,498 civilian deaths and 7,920 wounded.

Ground engagements between warring sides, particularly in areas populated or frequented by civilians, were the leading cause of civilian casualties, followed by improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, suicide and complex attacks and targeted and deliberate killings.

"All parties to the conflict must take immediate concrete measures to protect the ordinary Afghan men, women and children whose lives are being shattered", he added. "Children have been killed, blinded, crippled - or inadvertently caused the death of their friends - while playing with unexploded ordnance that is negligently left behind by parties to the conflict" said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein.

The UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, said the emergence of Islamic State in Afghanistan was an "additional, deadly component" to almost four decades of conflict. "It is imperative that the perpetrators, whoever they are, be held accountable for such acts", the report states.

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