Civilian casualties up 22pc in 2014, UN finds
KABUL (Pajhwok): As many as 10,548 Afghan civilians, including women and children, were either killed or wounded as a result of the ongoing conflict in the country in 2014, the United Nations said in its annual report released on Wednesday.
The report said 3,699 civilians were killed and 6,849 others wounded during clashes between militants and security forces last year, showing a 22 percent increase in civilian casualties when compared to 2013. Most of the casualties, the report said, were caused by militants.
It said the dead included 714 children and 298 women, up 40 percent against last year. It held the insurgents responsible for 72 percent of the casualties and Afghan forces for 10 percent and foreign troops for two percent.
The report said civilian casualties in 2014 were the highest figure in a single year since 2009. It added conflict related violence had killed 17,252 civilians and wounded 29,536 between 2009 and 2014.
The "Taliban don't actually accept the veracity of the information in the report," UNAMA head Nicholas Haysom told journalists in Kabul. "They have accepted in the engagements with us that protection of a civilian is important and have pledged to take certain measures to eradicate civilian casualties."
The Taliban had no immediate comment. The UN report attributed the rise in casualties to intensified ground fighting, in which weapons like mortars, rockets and grenades are used in populated areas, sometimes indiscriminately.
For the first time since 2009, more Afghan civilians were killed and injured by ground fighting than by any other tactic, including roadside bombs. The report found that civilian deaths and injuries resulting from ground operations surged by 54 percent, making them the "biggest killers of Afghan women and children in 2014."
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.