UN blames rebels for 61pc of civilian casualties in 2016
KABUL (Pajhwok): At least 2,562 civilians were killed and 5,835 injured in the first three quarters of the current year, representing a one per cent decrease compared to the same period in 2015.
Ground engagements remained the principal cause of civilian casualties, followed by suicide and complex attacks, as well as improvised explosive devices (IEDs), UNAMA said on Wednesday.
“Increased fighting in densely populated areas makes it imperative for parties to take immediate steps to ensure all feasible precautions are being taken to spare civilians from harm,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the secretary-general’s special representative.
A statement from the mission blamed militants for 61 per cent of civilian casualties – 1,569 deaths and 3,574 injured (5,143 total civilian casualties), showing a 12 per cent decrease from the same period in 2015
Twenty-three per cent of civilian casualties were attributed to pro-government forces, who killed 623 people and wounded 1,274. The figures indicate a 42 per cent increase, primarily due to casualties from the use of indirect and explosive weapons and air raids.
“Eleven per cent of civilian casualties resulted from ground fighting between anti-government elements and pro-government forces, where the responsible party could not be identified,” the UNAMA statement added.
Unattributed unexploded ordnance caused the majority of the remaining civilian casualties -- five per cent).
“There is an urgent need for the government to implement the National Civilian Casualty Prevention and Mitigation policy and for anti-government elements to cease the use of indiscriminate and illegal devices and tactics,” said Yamamoto.
While expressing deep concern at the continuing increase in child casualties, the mission documented 639 child deaths and 1,822 injuries, indicating a 15 per cent rise. Ground engagements caused more than half of all child casualties in 2016.
It added 240 women were killed 637 others wounded during the period, signaling a 12 per cent decrease.
Ground engagements caused 3,254 civilian casualties (829 deaths and 2,425 injured), accounting for 39 per cent deaths and injuries. This marks an 18 per cent increase, compared to the same period in 2015.
“Eighty-four per cent of victims from unexploded ordnance were children,” said Danielle Bell, UNAMA human rights director. “All parties must systematically track, mark and clear unexploded ordinance to protect current and future generations of children from harm.”
There was notable fall in civilian casualties caused by IEDs -- 496 deaths and 1,018 injuries -- amounting to a decrease of 22 per cent. Targeted civilian killings fell by 30 per cent to 445.
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