Afghan casualties rise to new high

Tracy FergusonFeb 08, 2017

The United Nations recorded an alarming 24 percent spike in conflict-related child casualties in Afghanistan and a three percent rise in total civilian casualties in 2016 compared to the year before.

According to the report, civilian casualties incurred by the loyalists of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group operating in Afghanistan, has increased by nearly 10 times.

The disproportionate rise in child casualties across Afghanistan a year ago resulted mainly from a 66 percent increase in civilian casualties from explosive remnants of war, and most of those civilians were children, UNAMA explained.

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

In order to prevent the exacerbation of an already dire humanitarian crisis, the UNAMA has called upon all parties in the conflict to note the consequences of their violent actions.

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The report recorded the majority of civilian casualties in Kabul province followed by Helmand, Kandahar, Nangarhar, Uruzgan, Kunduz and Faryab provinces, said the mission's human rights director Danielle Bell.

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

"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.

Afghan security forces and their global allies have been fighting Taliban militants and other radical groups for years.

Anti-government elements - mainly Taliban - were blamed for 61 percent of civilian casualties.

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The 2016 Annual Report on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict in Afghanistan, released on 6 February, documents 11,418 civilian casualties, including 3,498 deaths and 7,920 wounded, an overall 3% rise from the previous year.

One-third of those killed or wounded were children.

Among the deadliest tactic used by government forces was the indiscriminate use of heavy weapons like mortars in populated areas, the United Nations said. "It is imperative that the perpetrators, whoever they are, be held accountable for such acts", the report states.

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.

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