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Five civilians killed in Helmand airstrike

AT News Report

KABUL: At least five civilians have been killed and 10 others received injures in an airstrike pummeled Nahre Saraj district in Helmand province on Sunday night, some residents of the southern province claimed Monday.  

TOLONews quoted some residents, who wished not to be named, said the airstrike was conducted in Zanbali village in Nahre Saraj district. Two women are among the victims, according to the residents. 

The area is under Taliban control for past three years, the residents said.  

The provincial governor’s media office in a statement said the incident will be investigated by a team.  

This comes after a UN report released in February reveals that more civilians were killed in the Afghan conflict last year than any time since records have been kept.

The report documented 3,804 civilian deaths, including 927 children, in 2018.

In total, UNAMA documented 10,993 civilian casualties (3,804 deaths and 7,189) wounded), representing a five percent increase in overall civilian casualties and an 11 percent increase in civilian deaths compared with 2017.

In this report, UNAMA attributes the majority of civilian casualties – 63 percent – to anti-government elements (37 percent to Taliban, 20 percent to Daesh, and 6 percent to undetermined anti-government elements).

According to the report, pro-government forces caused 24 percent civilian deaths (14 percent by Afghan national security forces, six percent by international military forces, and four percent by other pro-government armed groups and forces).    

The report says that key factors contributing to the significant increase in civilian casualties were a spike in suicide attacks by anti-government elements, mainly Daesh, as well as increased harm to civilians from aerial and search operations by pro-government forces. 

The report says that 2018 witnessed the highest number of civilian casualties ever recorded from suicide attacks and aerial operations.

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