Afghanistan: More than 10,000 civilian casualties in 2017, says UN | News | DW | 15.02.2018
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Afghanistan: More than 10,000 civilian casualties in 2017, says UN

The overall civilian toll fell by 9 percent compared to 2016, but the number of deaths from airstrikes saw a significant jump. A resurgent Taliban and "Islamic State" militants inflicted a bulk of the casualties.

The United Nations said on Thursday that more than 10,000 civilians were killed or wounded in the ongoing war in Afghanistan in 2017, with militant bombings responsible for inflicting a major proportion of casualties.

Militants in Afghanistan have ramped up their assaults on urban centers in response to US President Donald Trump introducing a more aggressive US strategy in Afghanistan in August including a surge in air strikes on militant strongholds.

Read more: Terror attacks - Af-Pak relations hit a new low

What does the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) report say?

  • The overall civilian toll last year was 3,438 killed and 7,015 wounded, down 9 percent from 2016.
  • 2017 was the fourth consecutive year, where the UN recorded more than 10,000 civilian causalities.
  • Nearly two-thirds of all casualties were caused by anti-government elements with the Taliban and the "Islamic State" (IS) inflicting maximum damage.
  • Pro-government forces caused a fifth of the casualties with 16 percent attributed to Afghan forces, 2 percent to international forces.
  • Casualties caused by airstrikes jumped 7 percent.
  • Number of women killed in the conflict rose 5 percent.
  • Child casualties — 861 killed and 2,318 injured — fell by 10 percent compared with 2016.
  • Suicide and complex attacks caused 22 percent of all civilian casualties.

Read moreTrump is good for Afghanistan, tough on Pakistan, say experts

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'Chilling statistics'

Tadamichi Yamamoto, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan said: "The chilling statistics in this report provide credible data about the war's impact, but the figures alone cannot capture the appalling human suffering inflicted on ordinary people, especially women and children."

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al Hussein said: "Afghan civilians have been killed going about their daily lives — traveling on a bus, praying in a mosque, simply walking past a building that was targeted."

"Such attacks are prohibited under international humanitarian law and are likely, in most cases, to constitute war crimes. The perpetrators must be identified and held accountable," he said.

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What is the Afghan conflict: Afghanistan has been mired in conflict since 2001 when the United States launched an offensive against the Taliban militants in response to the 9/11 attack. The US and NATO forces concluded their combat mission in 2014 and shifted to a training role. But the conflict rages on with a resurgent Taliban stepping up attacks and the emergence of an IS affiliate.

Deadliest attack in 2017: The worst attack since the UN mission began recording civilian casualties in 2009 occurred in Kabul on May 31 when a suicide attacker detonated a truck bomb, killing 92 civilians and injuring 491.

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ap/rt (AP, Reuters)

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