Sunday, 24 September, 2017

Civilians continue to bear the brunt of Afghanistan's 'ugly war'

1,662 civilians died in Afghanistan in 6 months UN UN Report: Civilian Casualties Still High In Afghanistan's 'Ugly War'
Melinda Barton | 18 July, 2017, 03:00

The report also attributed the rise of civilian deaths to the increased use of homemade bombs.

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 past year. Sixty-seven percent of the total number of civilian casualties (1,141 dead and 2,348 injured) were attributed to anti-government forces - with 43 percent attributed to the Taliban and five percent to ISIS-Khorasan Province.

The largest number of civilian casualties (40 percent) were due to anti-government forces using improvised explosive devices (IEDs), such as suicide bombs and pressure-plate devices, according to the mission.

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.

As more women have joined the workforce in Afghanistan, they have become more vulnerable to insurgents targeting government workers during rush hours in crowded parts of the capital, the United Nations report said.

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

The report confirmed that a massive truck bomb in the centre of Kabul on May 31, which killed at least 90 people, was the deadliest attack since the US-led invasion that toppled the Taliban in 2001.

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

In May, a massive truck bomb in the heart of the capital, Kabul, detonated by a suicide attacker, killed at least 92 people and wounding almost 500 in what the United Nations called the "deadliest incident documented" since the worldwide military intervention that toppled the Taliban regime in 2001.

"The continued use of indiscriminate, disproportionate and illegal IEDs [improvised explosive devices] by anti-government elements is particularly appalling and must immediately stop". "Each one of these casualty figures reflects a broken family, unimaginable trauma and suffering, and the brutal violation of people's human rights", he said.

"The continuing national tragedy of Afghanistan must not be overlooked".

The investigators said the Taliban were responsible for at least 43 per cent of all civilian casualties. After Kabul, the highest numbers of casualties occurred in Helmand, Kandahar, Nangarhar, Uruzgan, Faryab, Herat, Laghman, Kunduz and Farah provinces.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid rejected the "biased" report, saying it did not take into account civilians killed by Afghan and coalition forces in areas controlled by the Taliban.

UNAMA commended the Afghan security forces for their efforts in reducing civilian casualties from ground engagements by 10 percent. But Afghans also suffer at the hands of government and allied forces, sometimes as they come across their unexploded ordnance.