Afghan civilian casualties hit record high in 2016

07 February, 2017, 00:43 | Author: Ora Austin
  • Security & Crime

According to The Associated Press, U.S. officials have only acknowledged possible civilian casualties in one incident in Kunduz province in November, when the United Nations said as many as 32 noncombatants were killed in a joint U.S.

While ground engagements were the main cause of injuries and deaths (38% of casualties), airstrikes conducted by Afghan and global forces led to 590 civilian casualties - double the number recorded in 2015.

The 2016 numbers reported by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) show 11,418 conflict-related civilian casualties. Since then, security has deteriorated, especially in provinces where the country's largest insurgency, the Taliban, have attacked more densely populated communities.

Javid Faisal, an Afghan government spokesman, blamed the militants for most of the casualties, adding that the government has taken many measures to avoid civilian casualties.

In September the Taliban stormed into Tarin Kot, capital of southern Uruzgan province, triggering heavy fighting around government buildings as many of its panicked 70,000 residents scrambled to flee. "These figures amount to a three per cent increase in total civilian casualties compared to 2015", the report said.

No further details were given regarding the airstrike and it is yet not clear if the airstrike was carried out by the Afghan Air Force or the USA forces based in Afghanistan.

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Such airstrikes caused 250 deaths and 340 injuries, almost double the number recorded in 2015 and the highest since 2009.

The Taliban and other insurgents are still responsible for most civilian casualties.

The disproportionate rise in child casualties across Afghanistan past year resulted mainly from a 66 percent increase in civilian casualties from explosive remnants of war, and most of those civilians were children, UNAMA explained.

After the earlier attack on Hazaras in Kabul, in October militants linked to Islamic State jihadists abducted and killed around 30 civilians, including children, in central Ghor province.

The report also flags the continued danger of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Afghanistan - 19% of the civilian casualties were caused by such devices.



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