Thursday, April 27, 2017 8:50 am
Civilian casualties as a result of the continued conflict in Afghanistan decreased slightly in the first quarter of 2017, a report published by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) revealed on Thursday.
UNAMA recorded 2,181 civilian casualties, 715 dead and 1,466 injured, in the first quarter, a decrease of four per cent compared to the same period in 2016.
Although ground engagements between Afghan security forces and insurgent groups remained the highest cause of civilian casualties at 35 per cent, these saw a 19-per-cent decline from 2016.
UNAMA said the decrease may be related to the large, “movement of civilians from several areas severely affected by conflict,” and not due to a decline in the rate of fighting.
A total of 652,594 people were displaced by armed conflict in Afghanistan in 2016, the highest number on record so far.
Casualties among women increased by 24 per cent and children by three per cent compared to the same period in 2016.
“UNAMA is extremely concerned by increases in both child and women civilian casualties, particularly deaths,” the report said.
Insurgents remained the highest contributors to civilian casualties at 62 per cent, followed by home-made bombs at 19 per cent, suicide and complex attacks at 17 per cent.
“During an armed conflict, the intentional killing and injuring of civilians is a war crime,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the UN secretary-general’s special representative for Afghanistan.
The alarming increase in the number of casualties caused by aerial operations, 72 dead and 76 injured, compared to eight dead and 21 injured in the same quarter in 2016, was “disturbing,” he added.