U.N. Says Civilian Casualties Hit Half-Year Record

Tuesday, July 26, 2016
Kabul (BNA) Civilians are being killed and wounded in record numbers in Afghanistan, the United Nations reported on Monday, just days after one of the deadliest attacks ever in Kabul.
Overall at least 1,601 civilians were killed and 3,565 wounded in the war in the first six months of 2016, the United Nations reported, as the anti-government groups, the largest of which is the Taliban, accounted for at least 60 percent of non-combatants killed and wounded.
Twin blasts on Saturday were claimed by Islamic State militants and killed at least 80 people and injured more than 230, most of them civilians.
Those numbers are not included in the U.N. report, but the attack highlighted its finding that suicide bombings and complex attacks are now harming more civilians than are roadside bombs.
Casualties caused by pro-government forces increased 47 percent over the same period last year, the United Nations said.
Afghan forces were responsible for 22 percent of casualties overall, and the international troops remaining in the country caused 2 percent, while 17 percent could not be attributed to one side or the other.
U.N. officials said they had heard more commitments by both sides, but few effective actions to improve protection of civilians.
“Every civilian casualty represents a failure of commitment and should be a call to action for parties to the conflict to take meaningful, concrete steps to reduce civilians’ suffering and increase protection,” Tadamichi Yamamoto, the top U.N. official in Afghanistan, said in the report.
“Platitudes not backed by meaningful action ring hollow over time. History and the collective memory of the Afghan people will judge leaders of all parties to this conflict by their actual conduct.”
More than 1,500 children were killed and wounded by the war, in the highest toll ever recorded in a six-month period by the United Nations.
Ground engagements accounted for 38 percent of casualties, followed by complex and suicide attacks at 20 percent, U.N. investigators found.
Casualties caused by roadside bombs decreased dramatically, by 21 percent, a drop the United Nations attributed to changes in the nature of the conflict, as well as better bomb-detection by the government.
Islamic State, a group that has made some limited inroads in Afghanistan, accounted for 122 casualties in the first six months of 2016 compared with 13 casualties attributed to it in the same period last year.

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