World News

United Nations reports record number of Afghan civilian casualties in 2017 attacks

United Nations reports record number of Afghan civilian casualties in 2017 attacks

Eleven percent of the civilian casualties in 2017 were caused by unaccounted fire between Afghan troops and anti-government fighters.

Attacks blamed on the Taliban in northern and western Afghanistan killed at least 10 members of the country's security forces, officials said Thursday, while a land mine explosion in western Herat province killed two children. They accounted for 40 per cent of all civilian casualties during the year.

Despite the general decline in the number of civilian casualties, the United Nations expressed deep concern over the 17 per cent rise in victims of suicide and similar attacks with 2,295 victims as against 1,963 registered in 2016.

Over two thirds of those killed and wounded were attributed to anti-government fighters belonging to groups such as the Taliban and the Islamic State militant group (ISIS).

"Your president and his military and political officials following his war policies still speak the language of war in Afghanistan". Civilian deaths alone also reduced by 2 percent.

The Taliban, fighting to oust foreign forces and defeat the US-backed government, said the United States must end its "occupation" and accept the Taliban right to form a government "consistent with the beliefs of our people".

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According to the report, a disturbing increase was seen in attacks against places of worship, religious leaders and worshippers.

Two-thirds of all casualties previous year were inflicted by anti-government forces, with the Taliban responsible for 42%, Islamic State 10% and 13% caused by undetermined anti-government elements.

"The chilling statistics in this report provide credible data about the war's impact, but the figures alone can not capture the appalling human suffering inflicted on ordinary people, especially women and children", said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the secretary-general's special representative for Afghanistan. The majority of civilian casualties - 65 percent - were from anti-government groups, with 42 percent attributed to the Taliban.

"UNAMA documented 631 civilian casualties (295 deaths and 336 injured) from aerial operations conducted by pro-government forces, a seven per cent increase from 2016, and the highest number from airstrikes in a single year since 2009", the press release said.

It attributes 16 per cent to Afghan forces and 2 per cent to global forces, with the rest remaining unclear.

The deadliest attack was a May truck bomb that detonated at a crowded intersection in the Afghan capital, Kabul, killing more than 150 people.


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