Most civilian casualties occurred in south: UN
KANDAHAR CITY (PAN): Most civilian casualties during the first half of the current year took place in southern Afghanistan, the United Nations political office in southern Kandahar province said on Thursday.
The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA)’s human rights section head for the south, Alexander Loden, said half of the civilian casualties taking place between Jan. 1 and June 30 were recorded in the south.
A total of 1145 civilians were killed and 1954 injured across the country during the period, he told a news conference in Kandahar City. Loden said that 925 women and children (30 percent of the casualties) were killed and wounded during the period.
In the south, he added, 407 people were killed and 472 others wounded during the first six months of the current year. Though the casualties dropped by 15 percent, they remained high in the south, he explained.
Last year, he said, UNAMA put at 3,654 the total civilian casualties, including 1,510 deaths, and injures to 2,144. The UN official blamed the Taliban and other rebel groups for 80 percent of the casualties this year, saying the groups had killed 882 civilians and injured 1,593.
Government forces were responsible for 10 percent of the casualties, killing 165 civilians and injuring 131 others, indicating a 25 percent drop. The official said the death of 98 people and injuries to another 230 could not be attributed to any party.
There has been 63 percent increase in target killings by the insurgents this year, with UNAMA registering 255 deaths and injuries to 101 people. He continued 83 civilians were killed and another 46 were injured in NATO operations. He called airstrikes a key cause of the casualties caused by foreign troops.
The UN official expressed deep concern over increasing attacks on schools, saying the incidents had a negative impact on girls’ education. He said 34 school attacks took place during the first six months of the year.
The attacks included burning school buildings, poisoning students, threatening them and others, he said. The official asked all parties to conflict to ensure that civilians were spared during operations.
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