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Civilian casualties top 11,000 to hit record in 2015: UNAMA

UNAMA documented 37 per cent increase in women and 14 per cent increase in children’s casualties in 2015

By Farhad Naibkhel-KABUL: The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) Sunday released its 2015 annual report recorded 11,002 civilian casualties including 3,545 deaths and 7,457 injured, the highest record since 2009.

The latest figures show an overall increase of four per cent during 2015 in total civilian casualties comparing to the previous year.

Complex attacks in Kabul and other cities and attack on Kunduz were called as the main factors of the casualties.

UNAMA finding showed that in 2015, UNAMA documented a 37 per cent increase in women’s casualties while the casualties of children had a 14 per cent increase.

The report shows that increased ground fighting in and around populated areas, along with suicide and other attacks in major cities, were the main causes of conflict-related civilian casualties in 2015.

“This report records yet another rise in the number of civilians hurt or killed. The harm done to civilians is totally unacceptable,” said Nicholas Haysom, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and head of the UNAMA.

“We call on those inflicting this pain on the people of Afghanistan to take concrete action to protect civilians and put a stop to the killing and maiming of civilians in 2016.”

He said that this report triple checked and shared with all parties including government of Afghanistan, International forces and Taliban.

Ground engagements between parties to the conflict caused the highest number of total civilian casualties, followed by improvised explosive devices and suicide and complex attacks, causing the most fatalities amongst civilians, followed by targeted and deliberate killings, the report said.

Anti-Government elements continued to cause the most harm – 62 per cent of all civilian casualties – despite a 10 per cent reduction from 2014 in the total civilian casualties resulting from their attacks. Notwithstanding the overall decrease, the report documents anti-government elements increasing use of some tactics that deliberately or indiscriminately cause civilian harm, including targeted killings of civilians, complex and suicide attacks, as well as indiscriminate and illegal pressure-plate IEDs. In addition this reduction of Anti-Government Elements caused casualties must be considered in the light of the increase in unattributed casualties.

Civilian deaths and injuries caused by Pro-Government Forces caused 17 per cent of civilian casualties – 14 per cent from Afghan security forces, two per cent from international military forces, and one per cent from pro-Government armed groups. The report documents increased civilian casualties caused by Pro-Government Forces, including during ground engagements, aerial operations, and the activities of pro-Government armed groups.

Fighting between the parties to the conflict, which could not be attributed to one specific party, caused 17 per cent of civilian casualties. Unattributed explosive remnants of war caused four per cent and cross-border shelling from Pakistan into Afghanistan caused less than half of one per cent.

Ground engagements between parties to the conflict caused 4,137 civilian casualties (1,116 deaths and 3,021 injured) – a 15 per cent increase from 2014 – and the leading cause of civilian casualties in Afghanistan. Improvised explosive devices caused 2,368 civilian casualties (713 deaths and 1,655 injured). While this represents a 20 per cent decrease it is still the second leading cause of civilian casualties in Afghanistan.

While concerning increase of civilian casualties Mr. Haysom said that no doubt that a peace agreement will lead to reduction of civilian casualties, but till the time the political agreement taken place, all involved parties must bring changes in their actions to prevent civilian casualties in battle fields.

Pointing to peace to ongoing process he said that UNAMA is ready to help the the government of Afghanistan in the process in all required all required aspects needed.

In 2015, UNAMA documented a 37 per cent increase in women casualties and a 14 per cent increase in child casualties.

“In 2015, the conflict caused extreme harm to the civilian population, with particularly appalling consequences for children. Unprecedented numbers of children were needlessly killed and injured last year – one in four casualties in 2015 was a child,” said Danielle Bell, UNAMA Director of Human Rights.

She said that “Other children suffered the loss of parents, and increasingly their mothers, sisters, and female role models – one in 10 casualties was a woman.”

She reiterated anti-government elements continued to cause the most harm – 62 per cent of all civilian casualties, Pro-Government Forces caused 17 per cent of civilian casualties, two per cent from international military forces, and one per cent from pro-Government armed groups.

Fighting between the parties to the conflict, which could not be attributed to one specific party, caused 17 per cent of the rest civilian casualties, she mentioned.

Pointing to casualties have been caused by Daesh she said that, 83 incident have been recorded caused by Daesh.

She said that 39 killed and 43 wounded in different incident in Achin district of Nangarhar province in past year.

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