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2,754 civilians killed in Afghanistan in 2012: UN

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-02-19 15:42

KABUL - A total of 2,754 Afghan civilians had been killed and 4,805 injured in conflict-related violence in Afghanistan in 2012, said an annual report released by the UN mission in the country on Tuesday, attributing majority of civilian deaths to anti-government armed groups.

"UNAMA documented a 12-percent drop in civilian deaths and a marginal increase in civilian injuries compared with 2011. UNAMA recorded 7,559 civilian casualties, 2,754 civilian deaths and 4,805 civilian injuries in 2012," said the report released by United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) here.

However, the "Annual Report for 2012 on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict" also said that civilian casualties in insurgency-hit country decreased for the first time in six years. "Over the past six years, 14,728 Afghan civilians have lost their lives in the conflict," it noted.

"The decrease in civilian casualties UNAMA documented in 2012 is very much welcome," UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan Jan Kubis told reporters at a press conference releasing the report.

"Yet, the human cost of the conflict remains unacceptable. Indiscriminate and unlawful use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) by anti-government elements remains the single biggest killer of civilians. Steep increases in the deliberate targeting of civilians perceived to be supporting the government demonstrates another grave violation of international humanitarian law. Particularly appalling is the use of suicide attacks including those carried out by brainwashed children to murder civilians which is also a clear breach of the norms of Islam," Kubis added.

The Taliban, who ruled the country before they were ousted by a US-led invasion in late 2001, renewed armed insurgency, staging ambush and suicide attacks, killing combatants as well as civilians.

The Taliban and other insurgent groups were responsible for 81 percent of the casualties, while 8 percent were caused by operations of Afghan and NATO-led forces the rest 11 percent could not be attributed to any party to the conflict, according to the report.

"While fewer Afghan civilians were killed in the armed conflict in 2012, conflictrelated violence continued to seriously threaten the lives and well-being of thousands of Afghan children, women and men," said Georgette Gagnon, director of human rights for UNAMA at the same briefing.

"This situation demands even greater commitment and redoubled efforts to protect Afghan civilians in 2013 and beyond," she said.

Up to 3,021 Afghan civilians were killed in 2011 in Central Asian state.

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