Afghanistan becomes more deadly for civilians

Nearly half of Afghanistan's 34 provinces have seen an increase in civilian deaths

Nearly half of Afghanistan's 34 provinces have seen an increase in civilian deaths

According to UNAMA, the increase in the number of casualties among women and children can be partly attributed to the use of improvised explosive devices (IED) and airstrikes in populated areas.

The U.N. said that 26,500 civilians have been killed in the war and 49,000 others injured since 2009, the year that the mission began tracking the casualties.

The agency's latest report said anti-government groups, such as the Taliban and Islamic State, caused 67 percent of civilian casualties, up 12 percent from past year.

The UNAMA said the use of pressure-plate roadside bombs or IEDs and aerial operations in civilian-populated areas substantially contributed to the rise in casualties for both women and children.

According to the latest report, a total of 1,662 civilian deaths were confirmed between 1 January and 30 June - an increase of two per cent on the same period a year ago, according to figures from the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

According to the UNAMA mid-year report, 1,662 civilians were killed and over 3,500 wounded in Afghanistan.

The UN's special envoy to Afghanistan Tadamichi Yamamoto said the human cost of the conflict remains "far too high".

The report also says that the number of minor victims rose by 9 per cent, while the number of female victims increased by 23 per cent. The report holds anti-government forces responsible for 67 per cent of the casualties (1,141 dead and 2,348 injured), which is 12 per cent more than for the same period past year.

In terms of locations, 19 per cent of the casualties occurred in the capital, Kabul and deaths and injuries increased in 15 of Afghanistan's 34 provinces, mainly due to increased attacks by anti-government forces.

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The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan's (UNAMA) latest midyear report comes as the Pentagon deliberates on a new strategy for the United States in the country, including whether to send thousands more US troops to break what top generals have described as a stalemate against the Taliban.

Civilians in Kabul suffered the greatest number of casualties, mostly driven by a small number of large bombings, including when a truck bomb killed at least 92 civilians May 31 and injured almost 500 others.

Pro-government forces were responsible for 327 civilian deaths and 618 injuries, a 21 per cent decrease compared with the same period previous year, although UNAMA noted a 43 per cent rise in civilian casualties during aerial operations (95 deaths and 137 injuries).

"The continued use of indiscriminate, disproportionate and illegal improvised explosive devices is particularly appalling and must immediately stop", he added in a statement.

The investigators said the Taliban were responsible for at least 43 per cent of all civilian casualties.

"Each one of these casualty figures reflects a broken family, unimaginable trauma and suffering, and the brutal violation of people's human rights", UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Al-Hussein said.

UNAMA commended the Afghan security forces for their efforts in reducing civilian casualties from ground engagements by 10 percent.

It also recommended ongoing support from global military forces to support and train the Afghan national army.

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