World / Asia-Pacific

Afghan civilian casualties reach record high in H1: report

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-08-05 22:13

Afghan civilian casualties reach record high in H1: report

Afghan children play with a rope in Kabul, Afghanistan July 26, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]

GENEVA -- The number of civilian casualties in Afghanistan has reached a record high as the on-ground conflicts continued to escalate, a UN report revealed on Wednesday.

The 2015 Midyear Report on Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict, prepared by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the UN Human Rights Office, documented 4,921 civilian casualties (1,592 deaths and 3,329 injured) in the first half of 2015, one percent increase in total civilian casualties compared to the same period in 2014.

As much as 90 percent of civilian casualties resulted from ground engagements, improvised explosive devices, complex and suicide attacks and targeted killings, according to the report.

"This report lays bare the heart-rending, prolonged suffering of civilians in Afghanistan, who continue to bear the brunt of the armed conflict and live in insecurity and uncertainty over whether a trip to a bank, a tailoring class, to a court room or a wedding party, may be their last," UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said.

He highlighted impunity for serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law has been reigning for too long in Afghanistan, and fueling the cycle of violence.

Anti-government elements continued to cause the most harm despite a slight reduction in total civilian casualties. The report attributes 70 percent of civilian casualties to their activities.

Meanwhile, civilian deaths and injuries caused by pro-government forces caused 16 per cent of civilian casualties. The report noted with concern that this is a 60 percent increase compared to the same period in 2014, mostly due to increased civilian casualties caused by pro-government forces during ground engagements.

Fighting between the parties to the conflict that could not be attributed to one specific party caused 10 percent of civilian casualties while unattributed explosive remnants of war caused the remaining four percent.

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