Civilian casualties in Afghanistan hit record high

The number of children killed and injured in Afghanistan spiked 24 per cent in 2016, with 923 killed and 2,589 injured, according to a report issued by the United Nations on Monday.

UNAMA documented 11,418 civilian casualties (3,498 deaths and 7,920 injured); marking a two per cent decrease in civilian deaths and six per cent increase in civilians injured.

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

The wounded bodies of patients at Kabul's Emergency Hospital tell a tale of nearly continuous violence
The wounded bodies of patients at Kabul's Emergency Hospital tell a tale of nearly continuous violence

More than 900 children were killed in Afghanistan's conflict last year, the United Nations said on Monday, calling it the most violent year for children since it started keeping records.

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. Such airstrikes caused 250 deaths and 340 injuries, almost double the number recorded in 2015 and the highest since 2009. Of those pro-government forces, it attributed 20 per cent to the Afghan national security forces, 2 per cent to pro-government armed groups and 2 per cent to global military forces.

"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.

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The report said the figures included 3,500 children who were killed or injured, an increase of 24 per cent over the past year.In September the Taliban stormed into Tarin Kot, capital of southern Uruzgan province, triggering heavy fighting around government buildings as many of its panicked 70,000 residents scrambled to flee.No further details were given regarding the airstrike and it is yet not clear if the airstrike was carried out by the Afghan Air Force or the United States forces based in Afghanistan.

Ground engagements, particularly in areas populated or frequented by civilians, were the leading cause of civilian casualties, followed by improvised explosive devices, suicide and complex attacks 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.

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"The intensification of efforts by Taliban and other anti-government element groups to seize or maintain territory led to a correlated increase in civilian casualties from ground engagements", said UNAMA.

"It is imperative that the perpetrators, whoever they are, be held accountable for such acts".

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