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Civilian casualties up by 24 pc in 1st half of 2014

Civilian casualties up by 24 pc in 1st half of 2014

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Jul 09, 2014 - 15:30

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Civilian casualties in the country rose by 24 percent in the first half of the current year, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistaninfo-icon (UNAMA) said on Wednesday.

From January 1 to June 20, UNAMA documented 4,853 civilian casualties, up 24 per cent over the same period in 2013. Included in the toll were 1,564 civilian deaths and 3,289 injuries, showing 17 and 28 per cent increase respectively.

The Mid-Year Report on Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict says ground combat is causing more deaths and injuries than improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Womeninfo-icon and children were increasingly caught in the crossfire.

Launching the report, UNAMA Director of Human Rights Georgette Gagnon said two-thirds more women were killed and wounded in ground combat this year compared with the same period of 2013.

"The nature of the conflict in Afghanistan is changing with an escalation of ground engagements in civilian-populated areas," said the secretary-general’s special representative, Jan Kubis.

Child casualties jumped by 34 percent to 1,071, including 295 killed and 776 injured. The total women casualties increased by 24 percent to 440.

Georgette Gagnon noted the fight was increasingly happening in communities, public places and near civilian homes. She called casualties among women and children a disturbing upward spiral.

During the year so far, ground engagements caused two of every five civilian casualties, or 39 per cent.

Nine percent of the deaths were attributed to Afghan and NATOinfo-icon-led forces while 12 percent were unattributed and the remaining five percent were caused by explosive remnants of war.

Nine percent of the deaths were attributed to Afghan and NATO-led forces while 12 percent were unattributed and the remaining five percent were caused mainly by explosive remnants of war.

The UNAMA report was prepared in coordination with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, she said.

Improvised explosive devices used by militants, was cited as the second leading cause of civilian casualties in 2014. The IEDs were behind 1,463 civilian casualties, up seven per cent from 2013.

The use of remote-controlled IEDs increased by 13 per cent, with 205 incidents causing 150 deaths and 487 injuries, the reports said, voicing grave concern over the use of pressure-plate IEDs. Such devices killed 161 civilians and wounded 147, a 33 per cent increase.

Suicide and complex attacks by insurgents accounted for 156 civilian deaths and injuries to 427. In the first half of 2014, Talibaninfo-icon claimed responsibility for 147 attacks that resulted in 553 civilian casualties.

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