Civilian casualties down, airstrike deaths up in Afghanistan

Taliban asks US to engage in peace talks

Raging violence in Afghanistan killed and wounded over 10,000 people past year, with a awful rise in the number of women and child casualties, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the UN Human Rights Office stated on Thursday.

Almost 2,300 civilians were killed or wounded in suicide bombings and attacks in Afghanistan in 2017, more than any previous year of the conflict on record, a United Nations report said Thursday.

Report indicates that Taliban and so-called Islamic State (also known as Daish) are free to attack urban areas and Taliban who were governing only rural and far flung areas are now controlling urban centres where casualties from suicide bombings and attacks jumped by 17 per cent.

The UNAMA also noted that the number of airstrikes carried out by worldwide military forces and the Afghan air force grew significantly in 2017 which had an impact on the number of casualties.

Unama documented "a disturbing increase in attacks against places of worship, religious leaders, and worshippers" which amounted to 499 civilian casualties, including 202 deaths, during the 38 attack in 2017.

Afghanistan has always been suffering from an unstable political situation due to the activity of different terrorist groups.

Pro-Government Forces caused a fifth of civilian casualties: 16 per cent were attributed to the Afghan national security forces, two per cent to worldwide military forces, one per cent each to pro-Government armed groups and undetermined pro-Government forces. It may be mentioned that United Nations started documenting the casualties in Afghanistan in 2009 and it had no data of human causalities from 2001 to 2009. It was the first annual decline in overall civilian casualties since 2012.

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According to the report, attacks also increased significantly in places of worship - with almost 500 civilian casualties from 38 attacks in 2017.

Reckless actions by global troops had increased collateral damages and registered 20 percent of the civilian casualties - a seven percent increase from 2016.

The Taliban on Wednesday penned an open letter urging United States to reconsider its efforts in the war-trodden region of Afghanistan.

In 2017, women continued to suffer at levels comparable to 2016.

The report attributes 1,000 civilian casualties (399 deaths and 601 injured) and the abduction of 119 civilians to Daesh / ISIL-KP. Ground engagements remained the leading cause of harm to women, though UNAMA documented a decrease of 11 percent in women casualties from ground fighting. "The Taliban's recent horrific terror attacks in Kabul speak louder than these words", the spokesperson told the Guardian.

The number of child casualties - 861 killed and 2,318 wounded - was 10% lower than 2016. "Each of these figures represents a hope crushed for a better future".


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