The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) in a report released on Monday revealed that 3,458 civilians casualties have occurred including 1,282 killed and 2,176 others wounded in past six months.
Despite being a deadliest conflict-riddled country the ration of civilia casualties in Afghanistan has reduced 13 percent as compared to the fist half of 2020, the UNAMA report said.
“It must be noted that there has been no reduction in civilian casualties caused by the Taliban and Afghan national security forces,” the report said, and attributed the lower number of civilian casualties in the first half of 2019 to a reduction in operations by international military forces and Daesh.
“At a time when the government of Afghanistan and the Taliban have a historic opportunity to come together at the negotiating table for peace talks, the tragic reality is that the fighting continues inflicting terrible harm to civilians every day,” said Deborah Lyons, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan.
“I urge the parties to pause, to reflect on the chilling incidents and the harm that they are causing to the Afghan people as documented in this report, and to take decisive action to stop the carnage and get to the negotiating table,” said Lyons, who is also the head of UNAMA.
Anti-Government Elements (AGE) continued to be responsible for the majority of civilian casualties, the report said.
A total of “58 per cent of civilian casualties” were caused by anti-government elements, with the Taliban responsible for 1,473 (580 killed and 893 injured) representing 43 percent of the total number of civilian casualties in the January 1 – June 30, 2020 period, said the report.
Civilian casualties attributed to Afghan national security forces increased by nine percent, mainly due to airstrikes and the use of indirect fire during ground engagements, said UNAMA.
The report said Afghan forces were responsible for 23 percent of the total number of civilian casualties in the first half of the year, 789 people (281 killed and 508 injured).
The report documents any civilian casualties attributed to international military forces from active hostilities during the second quarter of 2020.
Ground engagements remained the leading cause of civilian casualties with the majority – two-thirds – caused by the use of indirect fire, particularly in civilian-populated areas, the report said.
Women and children continue to be disproportionately affected by the direct and indirect impacts of the armed conflict, comprising more than 40 percent of the total civilian casualties, according to UNAMA findings.
During the first six months of the year, the armed conflict caused 397 women casualties (138 killed and 259 injured) and 1,067 child casualties (340 killed and 727 injured), said UNAMA.
The report notes that children in Afghanistan are especially vulnerable to recruitment and use by parties to the conflict, including for combat functions, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The report also underscores the lasting impact of the armed conflict on civilians.
The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically reduced the ability of victims to recover, making it even more imperative for the parties to the conflict to reduce the violence now and acknowledge and address the needs and rights of the victims, according to the UN report.