Record number of child casualties cited in Afghan conflict

Report Record number of child casualties cited in Afghan conflict

The disproportionate rise in child casualties across Afghanistan previous year resulted mainly from a 66 percent increase in civilian casualties from explosive remnants of war, and most of those civilians were children, UNAMA explained.

"Conflict-related violence exacted a heavy toll on Afghanistan in 2016, with an overall deterioration in civilian protection and the highest-total civilian casualties recorded since 2009, when UNAMA began systematic documentation of civilian casualties", the report stated.

"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.

Airstrikes, including some carried out by US warplanes, accounted for 250 deaths and 340 injuries - double the 2015 figure and the highest since 2009.

The conflict in Afghanistan has killed 24,841 civilians and injured 45,347 since 2009, according to the United Nations report.

In a press release issued by ARG (the Presidential Palace) it was stated that government had carefully studied the report released on Monday by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) on the civilian casualties in Afghanistan in 2016.

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Aerial operations by both Afghan government forces and worldwide forces killed 250 and injured 340 civilians, a 99 percent increase over 2015.

UNAMA attributed 61 per cent of civilian deaths and injuries to what it called anti-government elements, mainly the Taliban, and 24 per cent to pro-government forces.

Anti-Government forces, mainly the Taliban, were responsible for nearly two thirds of the casualties while pro-Government forces were responsible for nearly one quarter. This was mainly due to a 66 percent increase in casualties, most of whom were children, from unexploded ordnance. "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 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 UN mission said the almost 25% increase in child deaths from the previous year was largely caused by mines and munitions left over from decades of conflict.

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