United Nations report says civilian casualties at record high in Afghanistan

United Nations report says civilian casualties at record high in Afghanistan

United Nations report says civilian casualties at record high in Afghanistan

The number of civilian casualties in Afghanistan reached a record high past year, according to new figures released by the UN.

Last year's total tops the 11,035 civilian injuries and deaths in 2015, which itself was the highest civilian casualty toll since 2009, when the United Nations started tracking the number.

The 2016 numbers reported by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) show 11,418 conflict-related civilian casualties.

Tadamichi Yamamoto, the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Afghanistan, said: "The killing and maiming of thousands of Afghan civilians is deeply harrowing and largely preventable".

The number of civilians killed and wounded in Afghanistan's conflict rise by 3 per cent in 2016 compared to the previous year, the United Nations mission said in its annual report released Monday.

The 2016 casualties break down into 3,498 deaths and 7,920 injuries.

The report said the figures included 3,500 children who were killed or injured, an increase of 24 per cent over the a year ago.

The Afghan army flushed out the insurgents with the support of American air strikes, and around 100 U.S. troops were deployed in the city, the first major American presence there since foreign forces withdrew in 2014.

The report said antigovernment elements, mainly the Taliban, were responsible for 61% of the civilian casualties past year, while government forces were to blame for 20% and pro-government armed groups and worldwide military forces, 2% each.

Afghan security forces caused about 20 percent of the casualties, while pro-government militias and global forces caused 2 percent each.

No further details were given regarding the airstrike and it is yet not clear if the airstrike was carried out by the Afghan Air Force or the U.S. forces based in Afghanistan.

UNAMA's report Monday charted a 10-fold increase in civilian casualties blamed on Islamic State - 899, including 209 deaths.

"The increased capacity of Daesh/ISKP to strike beyond its perceived areas of influence and presence in eastern Afghanistan exacerbated the escalation in conflict and deteriorating security environment", the report says.

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