Afghan civilian deaths hit new high

Claudine Rigal
Juillet 17, 2017

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) released its latest civilian casualties report in Afghanistan today, showing a two percent increase in civilian deaths as compared to the same period previous year.

Civilian deaths in Afghanistan hit a new high in the first half of 2017 with 1 662 killed and more than 3 500 injured, the United Nations said Monday.

The majority of the victims were killed by anti-government forces - including the Taliban and in attacks claimed by the Islamic State, the report said.

UNAMA also added that many of those casualties occurred in a single attack in Kabul city on 31 May, when a truck bomb killed at least 92 civilians and injured almost 500, the deadliest incident documented by UNAMA since 2001.

The figures include civilian casualties from suicide attacks and "complex attacks" - assaults involving more than one perpetrator and at least two forms of weaponry, including IEDs - that saw a 15 percent increase compared to the same period past year. UNAMA put the civilian death toll at 92, saying it was the deadliest incident to hit the country since 2001.

"The human cost of this ugly war in Afghanistan - loss of life, destruction and huge suffering - is too far too high", said the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Afghanistan and head of UNAMA, Tadamichi Yamamoto.

The reports highlights that 40 per cent of all civilian casualties during the six-month period were killed or injured by anti-government forces using improvised explosive devices (IEDs), such as suicide bombs and pressure-plate devices, which were responsible for the deaths of 596 civilians and injured 1,483.

Women and children have borne the brunt of the increase in civilian casualties, with UNAMA blaming the use of IEDs and aerial operations in populated areas for the jump.

A total of 174 women were killed and 462 injured - an overall rise in casualties of 23% on a year ago - while 436 children were killed in the same period, representing a 9% increase.

Almost half of Afghanistan's 34 provinces have seen an increase in civilian deaths in the first six months of the year, mainly due to the rise in attacks by anti-government forces.

In the meantime, UNAMA commends Afghan security forces for their continued efforts to reduce civilian casualties resulting from ground engagements, which represent the second leading cause of deaths and injuries.

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