Civilians Continue to Bear the Brunt of Afghanistan's 'Ugly War'

Vincent Carr
July 17, 2017

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

Suicide attacks and complex attacks were responsible for killing 259 civilians, and injuring 892, including an attack in Kabul on May 31 in which 92 civilians were killed.

"The militants have often used civilians as human shields, but falling into their trap and using heavy weapons in populated areas would only cause civilian casualties and fuel hatred", he said.

Of the 1,662 civilians killed in the first six months of this year, the report said 40 percent died as a result of suicide bombings, improvised explosive devises and pressure-plate devises. "The continued use of indiscriminate, disproportionate, and illegal improvised explosive devices is particularly appalling and must immediately stop". The report holds anti-government forces responsible for 67 per cent of the casualties (1,141 dead and 2,348 injured), which is 12 per cent more than for the same period past year.

The UNAMA report said that 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 across the country.

The report commended Afghanistan's security forces, saying fewer civilians were caught in the crossfire compared to past year.

"The statistics in this report, horrifying though they are, can never fully convey the sheer human suffering of the people of Afghanistan", said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein.

"Many Afghan civilians are suffering psychological trauma, having lost family and friends, and are living in fear knowing the risks they face as they go about their daily lives".

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The report also says that the number of minor victims rose by 9 per cent, while the number of female victims increased by 23 per cent.

UNAMA annual reports indicate that civilian casualties were on the rise from the withdrawal of many global troops from Afghanistan after 2011 and the official end of NATO's combat mission in 2014. Islamic State was blamed for 5 percent, while unidentified anti-government forces accounted for another 19 percent of the total.

The highest numbers of casualties occurred in provinces of Kabul, Helmand, Kandahar, Nangarhar, Uruzgan, Faryab, Herat, Laghman, Kunduz, and Farah.

More than two-thirds of the civilian casualties were caused by anti-government forces.

The report commended Afghanistan's security forces, saying fewer civilians were caught in the crossfire compared to past year.

Since January 2009, United Nations figures show that more than 26,500 civilians have died and just under 49,000 have been wounded in the Afghan conflict.

UN Mission said its figures only include incidents confirmed after a thorough verification process and the actual figures could be higher.

Other reports by BadHub

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