Afghanistan reports highest ever civilian casualties in 2016: UNAMA Report

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WASHINGTON, Feb 6 (APP): Afghanistan posted the record high number of civilian casualties in 2016 where as many as 11,418 civilian were either killed or injured in a single year according to a latest UN report released on Monday.
The conflict-related casualties included 3,498 killed and 7,920 injured. Of these, 3,512 were children – 923 dead and 2,589 injured, up 24 per cent on the previous highest recorded figure, according to the report by UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), which said that it was the highest since the UN began systematically documenting civilian casualty figures in 2009.
The year proved to be the worst ever for the children in which the highest number of children were killed and injured in a single year.
“The killing and maiming of thousands of Afghan civilians is deeply harrowing and largely preventable,” the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan Tadamichi Yamamoto said.
“All parties to the conflict must take immediate concrete measures to protect the ordinary Afghan men, women and children whose lives are being shattered.”
The report held Taliban responsible for almost two thirds of the casualties while pro-government forces were responsible for almost one quarter.
The report notes that as in 2015, ground engagements between Anti-Government Elements and Pro-Government Forces, particularly in areas populated or frequented by civilians, remained the leading cause of civilian casualties, followed by improvised explosive devices (IED), suicide and complex attacks, as well as targeted and deliberate killings.
Apart from Taliban-led violence, the report also observed increase in attacks perpetrated by Daesh/ISKP (Islamic State Khorasan Province), particularly targeting Shia Muslims.
The UNAMA documented 899 civilian casualties (209 deaths and 690 injured), a ten-fold increase from last year.
The majority of the casualties caused by Daesh/ISKP occurred in three large-scale attacks on the Shia Muslim community, the report said.
Overall casualties also included those killed by pro-government forces. As many as 250 civilians were killed and 340 injured in airstrikes carried out by Afghan and international forces, nearly double that recorded in 2015 and the highest since 2009.
“Yet another record year of civilian suffering in Afghanistan,” Yamamoto said who is also the head of UNAMA.
“Unless all parties to the conflict make serious efforts to review and address the consequences of their operations, the levels of civilian casualties, displacement and other types of human suffering are likely to remain at appallingly high levels.”
“The continuation of attacks targeting civilians and indiscriminate attacks by Anti-Government Elements – in particular, IED and suicide attacks in civilian-populated areas – is illegal, reprehensible and, in most cases, may amount to a war crime. It is imperative that the perpetrators, whoever they are, be held accountable for such acts,” the
report states.