Civilian casualties on the rise: UNAMA
KANDAHAR CITY (PAN): Civilians casualties in the conflict over the past three months show an upsurge, compared with figures for the same period last year that saw a 12 percent decline, a UN official said on Monday.
In 2012, the UN documented 2,754 deaths, compared with 3,131 in the previous year, showing a 12 percent fall, but casualties among non-combatants increased during the last three months, said Dr. Nilab Mobarez, national spokesperson for the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).
She told a press conference in the southern city of Kandahar that she would not release the latest figures because the UN issued its reports on civilian casualties every six months.
The UNAMA official also said natural disasters were the second largest contributor to civilian deaths after the conflict, particularly in southern Afghanistan.
Floods have rendered many families homeless and caused deaths and injuries to residents in many parts of the country, she said.
She said Afghanistan's problems needed enough time to be resolved and that the UN planned to launch long-term development projects to alleviate people's hardships.
Mobarez also spoke about next year's presidential elections, the distribution of electronic identity cards and the expansion of UN activities.
She said the UN extended its role because many important jobs were going to be done next year and the word's body was supposed to oversee them.
The presidential elections, ID cards distribution and completion of the security transition from foreign troops to Afghans were the key process to be implemented simultaneously next year, said Mobarez.
She said the UN would try to prevent possible rifts in the upcoming elections as an impartial body through the evolution of a mechanism acceptable to all.
She said though insecurity would have an impact on the ballot, yet Afghans should not make it an excuse to stay homes on the election day.
She said it was responsibility of every Afghans to participate in the polls that would determine the future of their country.
The UN planned to conduct a poll to ascertain the concerns of Afghans about the elections, she said, asking the Karzai administration to ensure women took part in the elections and a non-controversial individual appointed as the election commission chief.
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