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UN records 8,050 civilian casualties since January

KABUL: The UN mission in Afghanistan has recorded more than 8,050 casualties among Afghan civilians from January 1 to September 30.

Figures released Wednesday by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) show continuing high casualty rates being inflicted on the Afghan civilian population, especially by anti-government elements.

Since the outset of 2018, UNAMA documented 8,050 civilian casualties including 2,798 deaths and 5,252 injured, reflecting the same extreme levels of harm to civilians as during the same period in 2017.

In the same period in 2017, the total number of civilian casualties was 8,084 including 2,666 killed and 5,418 injured. This shows civilian deaths increased by five per cent while the number of civilians injured decreased by three per cent.

A half of the spike in civilian casualties from suicide and complex attacks is attributed to Daesh terrorists, which continued to offset decreases in civilian casualties from other incident types, including an 18 per cent reduction in casualties caused during ground engagements, as well as a 32 per cent decrease from targeted and deliberate killings.

Civilians living in the provinces of Nangarhar, Kabul, Helmand, Ghazni, and Faryab were most impacted by the conflict, according to the report.

The UN mission said Nangarhar was the worst-hit province in terms of high rate of civilian casualties in the first nine months of 2018 with 1,494 civilian casualties including 554 deaths and 940 injured, which makes it twice the number of civilian casualties in 2017. Last year Kabul was on the top of list with more civilian casualties among the 34 provinces.

From 1 January to 30 September 2018, terrorists caused 5,243 civilian casualties with 1,743 deaths and 3,500 injured, accounting for 65 per cent of all civilian casualties, approximately the same as in the first nine months of the preceding year.

Of the 65 per cent of civilian casualties attributed to terrorists, 35 per cent were attributed to Taliban, 25 per cent to Daesh, and five per cent to unidentified terrorists including less than one per cent to self-proclaimed Daesh.

The use of IEDs by militants, mainly during suicide attacks, remained the leading cause of civilian casualties attributed to Anti-Government Elements. Overall IED civilian casualties increased by 21 per cent, while civilian casualties from suicide and complex attacks increased by 46 per cent.

UNAMA attributed 1,753 civilian casualties (761 deaths and 992 injured) to pro-government forces, a nine per cent increase from the corresponding period in 2017. Pro-government forces caused 22 per cent of all civilian casualties in the first nine months of 2018; 16 per cent of which is attributed to Afghan national security forces, five per cent to international military forces, and one per cent by pro-government armed groups.

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