Afghan civilians killed, 7920 wounded in 2016: UNAMA

The 2016 civilian casualties report from the United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan (UNAMA) is a stark reminder of just how awful the war in Afghanistan has become.

In 2015, the first year when the Afghan forces took charge, UNAMA documented 11,002 civilian casualties - 3,545 deaths and 7,457 injured - exceeding the figures from 2014.

"I am deeply saddened to report, for yet another year, another increase in civilian casualties, another all-time high figure", Tadamichi Yamamoto, the United Nations envoy to Afghanistan, told a press conference.

UNAMA recorded 3,512 casualties among children, with 923 deaths and 2,589 wounded - a 24-per cent increase from 2015, and the highest number of child casualties recorded by UNAMA in a single year.

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"Yet another record year of civilian suffering in Afghanistan", Tadamichi Yamamoto, the U.N. Secretary-General's Special Representative to Afghanistan and head of the UNAMA, said in a press release.

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

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

Ground engagements, particularly in areas populated or frequented by civilians, were the leading cause of civilian casualties, followed by improvised explosive devices, suicide and complex attacks and deliberate killings.

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As the Afghan air force got more attack aircraft and the United States ramped up its air campaign against both Islamic State and the Taliban, casualties caused by air strikes increased 99 per cent compared with 2015, hitting levels not seen since 2009.

Unexploded ordinance left behind after fighting between Taliban and government forces accounted for nearly two-thirds of child deaths.

"Unless all parties to the conflict make serious efforts to review and address the consequences of their operations, the levels of civilian casualties, displacement and other types of human suffering are likely to remain at appallingly high levels", he said.

"Women continue to be brutally punished in parallel so-called "justice" processes while religious minorities are targeted as they pray in their mosques", Zeid said.

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The UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, said the emergence of Islamic State in Afghanistan was an "additional, deadly component" to almost four decades of conflict.


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