Kabul - Afghan civilians are dying in record numbers in the country’s increasingly brutal war, noting that more civilians died in July than in any previous one-month period since the UN began keeping statistics, according to a UN report released Thursday.
The report also said that for the first time this year insurgents were responsible for more casualties than US and pro-government forces.
Tadamichi Yamamoto, the UN secretary-general’s special representative for Afghanistan, said neither side is doing enough to protect civilians.
The report said 2,563 civilians were killed and 5,676 were wounded in the first nine months of this year. Insurgents were responsible for 62 per cent. July to September were the deadliest months so far this year.
“Civilian casualties at record-high levels clearly show the need for all parties concerned to pay much more attention to protecting the civilian population, including through a review of conduct during combat operations,” said Yamamoto.
“Civilian casualties are totally unacceptable, especially in the context of the widespread recognition that there can be no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan” he added.
The UN report said that pro-government forces caused 2,348 civilian casualties, including 1,149 killed and 1,199 wounded, a 26 per cent increase from the same period in 2018.
Besides detailing civilian casualties and their causes, UN’s latest report indicates that 41 per cent of all civilian casualties in Afghanistan were women and children. In the first nine months this year, a total of 261 women and 631 children were killed.
“The impact of Afghanistan’s conflict on civilians is appalling” every verified number is a person, someone’s relative - mother, father, daughter, son,” said Fiona Frazer, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan’s Human Rights Chief. “The United Nations will continue its advocacy work with all parties to the conflict until Afghanistan reaches the only acceptable number of civilians killed and injured in the conflict: zero.”
Efforts have been stepped up to restart talks to end Afghanistan’s 18-year war.