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Afghanistan sees record high of civilians casualties in five years

English.news.cn   2015-02-19 06:32:45

UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 18 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) on Wednesday said that conflict-related deaths and injuries of Afghan civilians rose by 22 percent last year from the year before, with much of the rise being attributed to increased ground engagements between parties to the armed conflict, bringing the civilian death toll to a record high over the past five years.

"The Mission, UNAMA, documented 10,548 civilian casualties in 2014, the highest number of civilian deaths and injuries recorded in a single year since 2009," UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said at a daily news briefing here.

Included in the toll were 3,699 civilian deaths, which itself is an increase by 25 percent from 2013, Dujarric said.

Since 2009, more than 17,000 Afghan civilians have been killed and nearly 30,000 wounded in the conflict, he said.

"For the first time since 2009, more Afghan civilians were killed and wounded in ground engagements than by improvised explosive devices (IEDs) or any other tactic," he said. "The report found that civilian deaths and injuries from ground operations surged by 54 percent, making them the leading cause of civilian casualties and the biggest killers of Afghan women and children in 2014."

The rising civilian casualties reflect increased ground battles between armed groups and the government and a drastic drawdown of Western troop presence in the country.

The UNAMA report highlighted that "Anti-Government Elements" remain responsible for 72 percent of all civilian casualties. Meanwhile, Pro-Government Forces are responsible for 14 per cent of civilian casualties, while 12 percent of that were linked to the Afghan national security forces and 2 percent to international military forces.

A total of 10 percent of civilian casualties could not be attributed to a specific party and 3 percent were caused by explosive remnants of war, said the report.

As Western nations withdrew their military forces and combat support in 2014, UNAMA observed a rise in deadly ground battles. Civilian deaths and injuries from ground engagements, operations and attacks by Pro-Government Forces rose significantly with 921 civilian casualties, including 336 deaths.

This is an increase of 141 percent increase from 2013. An increase in civilian casualties by Anti-Government Elements was also documented with 1,551 civilian casualties, up 51 percent from 2013.

Women and children were particularly hard hit by the armed conflict in 2014, the report found, documenting 2,474 children casualties, a rise of 40 percent when compared to 2013. Women casualties increased by 21 percent, with 298 women killed and 611 injured.

Editor: yan
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