Civilian deaths in Afghanistan at record high

Civilian deaths in Afghanistan at record high

At least 92 civilians were killed and almost 500 others injured in a single attack in the capital, Kabul, on May 31.

Out of over 1,500 documented civilian deaths in Afghanistan in the first six months of 2017, the United Nations has attributed 327 - or almost one-fifth - to pro-government forces.

Child casualties, overall also increased by one per cent, with 436 deaths (a nine per cent increase) and 1,141 injuries, it added, highlighting that the use of pressure-plate IEDs and aerial operations in civilian-populated areas led to substantial increases in both women and child casualties.

The agency's latest report said anti-government groups, such as the Taliban and Islamic State, caused 67 percent of civilian casualties, up 12 percent from previous year.

The figures include civilian casualties from suicide attacks and "complex attacks" - assaults involving more than one perpetrator and at least two forms of weaponry, including IEDs - that saw a 15 percent increase compared to the same period a year ago.

The head of the UN's Afghanistan mission Tadamichi Yamamoto, said the human cost of the Afghanistan war, including death, destruction and suffering, is high.

"The continued use of indiscriminate, disproportionate and illegal IEDs [improvised explosive devices] by anti-government elements is particularly appalling and must immediately stop".

These deaths and injuries represent 67 percent of the total civilian casualties, with 43 percent attributed to the Taliban, 5 percent to Daesh in the Khorasan province, and the rest to unidentified attackers. "The army is being very careful during operations to prevent civilian deaths", Waziri said.

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The UN body said it was the worst such attack in Afghanistan since 2001 when the United States invasion of the country ended.

"Many Afghan civilians are suffering psychological trauma, having lost family and friends, and are living in fear knowing the risks they face as they go about their daily lives". Attacks by anti-government groups in which improvised explosives were used, were responsible for at least 40 percent of all civilian casualties.

The report confirms that a massive truck bomb in the center of Kabul on May 31, which killed at least 90 people, was the deadliest attack since the USA -led invasion that toppled the Taliban in 2001.

"The statistics in this report, horrifying though they are, can never fully convey the sheer human suffering of the people of Afghanistan", said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein.

The shocking figures comes as Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law, Erik Prince, founder of Blackwater, the all-purpose mercenary army, along with Stephen Feinberg, a New York-based financier who owns and controls, DynCorp International, the largest US contractor in Afghanistan, consider plans to turn the war on Afghanistan into "private military units", according to The Nation.

On Monday, Afghan government forces aided by US forces ended a two day offensive to retake the strategic district of Nawa in Afghanistan's southern Helmand province from the Taliban.

It also recommended ongoing support from worldwide military forces to support and train the Afghan national army.

The Taliban rejected the report in a statement, calling it politically motivated and one-sided.