Afghan civilians continue to suffer in 'ugly war'

Cheryl Sanders
July 18, 2017

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.

"The continued use of indiscriminate, disproportionate and illegal improvised explosive devices is particularly appalling and must immediately stop", he added in a statement.

Overall, children made up more than one-quarter of the total casualties in the six-month period, and child deaths were up 9 percent compared with the same period past year, the United Nations said. The report attributed the increase in civilian deaths in almost half of 34 provinces in Afghanistan to the rise in attacks by the anti-government forces.

United Nations says no fewer than 1,662 Afghan civilians were killed and 3,581 others were injured between January and June this year.

UNAMA also added that many of those casualties occurred in a single attack in Kabul city on 31 May, when a truck bomb killed at least 92 civilians and injured almost 500, the deadliest incident documented by UNAMA since 2001.

At 67 per cent of the total, the highest number of casualties, 1,141 deaths and 2,348 injuries, was caused by anti-government forces, mainly the Taliban.

Meanwhile, 436 children died and 1,141 were wounded this year - a 9 percent spike on the figures from the same period last year.

A huge truck bomb detonated at a crowded traffic circle in Kabul in May was one of the deadliest strikes in the long Afghan war, and a reminder of how the battlefield has extended to the capital.

"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".

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. "Many more have been forced from their homes and suffered lasting damage to their health, education and livelihoods", he stated.

The shocking figures comes as Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law, Erik Prince, founder of Blackwater, the all-purpose mercenary army, along with Stephen Feinberg, a New York-based financier who owns and controls, DynCorp International, the largest USA contractor in Afghanistan, consider plans to turn the war on Afghanistan into "private military units", according to The Nation. Islamic State was blamed for 5 per cent, while unidentified anti-government forces accounted for another 19 per cent of the total.

Deaths and injuries from air strikes, however, spiked 43 per cent, as both Afghan and USA forces increased their air operations.

The figures demonstrate a 10 per cent reduction in civilian casualties from ground engagements the first six months of 2017 compared to the same period previous year, with 434 confirmed deaths and 1,375 injuries. After Kabul, the highest numbers of casualties occurred in Helmand, Kandahar, Nangarhar, Uruzgan, Faryab, Herat, Laghman, Kunduz and Farah provinces. It has also urged the Government to stop using weapons such as mortars and rockets in civilian populated areas, and to disband pro-government militias and similar groups.

The UN reports include only incidents that have been confirmed after a thorough verification process.

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