Civilian casualties in Afghanistan hit historic high of 10,300: UN Report

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Civilian casualties in Afghanistan hit historic high of 10,300: UN Report

KABUL - Civilian casualties in Afghanistan hit historic high of 10,300, United Nations report has claimed.

A new report by the United Nations released on Saturday – amid the start of a reduction in violence countrywide – shows that a record number of civilians were killed in 2019 in the ongoing conflict.

The report says the organization documented 3,403 civilians killed and 6,989 injured, with "the majority of the civilian casualties inflicted by anti-government elements, TOLO News has reported.

It is the sixth year in a row that the number of civilian casualties has exceeded 10,000, and this year the total number of civilian casualties in the conflict, since the UN began reporting, has exceeded 100,000, the report says.

“Almost no civilian in Afghanistan has escaped being personally affected in some way by the ongoing violence,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

“It is absolutely imperative for all parties to seize the moment to stop the fighting, as peace is long overdue; civilian lives must be protected and efforts for peace are underway.”

The figures outlined in the new report – released jointly by UNAMA and the UN Human Rights Office – "represent a five percent decrease over the previous year, mainly due to a decrease in civilian casualties caused by Daesh."

"Civilian casualties caused by the other parties increased, particularly by the Taliban (21 percent increase) and the international military forces (18 percent increase), mainly due to an increase in improvised explosive device attacks and airstrikes," the report said.

In addition to outlining the civilian casualties documented with a "rigorous methodology" throughout the course of 2019, the report sets out several recommendations and reminds the parties that attacks deliberately targeting civilians or civilian objects are "serious violations of international humanitarian law that amount to war crimes."