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World Desk
Up to 1,692 Afghan civilians were killed as a result of conflicts and terrorist attacks in the first half of this year, hitting a record high, a UN mission said on Sunday, reports BSS/Xinhua.
“Latest figures released today by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) show continuing record high casualty rates being inflicted on the Afghan civilian population by the warring parties” the UNAMA said in a statement citing its mid-year report.
“Covering the period Jan. 1 to June 30, findings include the killing of
more civilians in the first six months of this year – 1,692 deaths – than at any comparable time over the last 10 years since records have been kept.”
The UN mission started to monitor the situation of civilians and coordinate efforts to ensure their protection in 2009.
A total of 3,430 civilians were also wounded during the period.
The use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in attacks by Anti Government Elements was the leading cause of civilian casualties.
“The combined use of suicide and non-suicide IEDs caused nearly half of all civilian casualties,” the statement said.
The ground engagements were the second leading cause of civilian casualties, followed by targeted and deliberate killings, aerial operations and explosive remnants of war, according to the report.
The mission has attributed 67 percent of the civilian casualties to the Taliban and other insurgent groups, 20 percent to security forces over the period while the rest were unattributed or caused by other reasons. The UNAMA also renewed its call on the conflicting parties to increase efforts to protect the civilian population and encouraged them to work towards reaching a peaceful settlement.
Suicide bombs and “complex” attacks that involve several militants accounted for 1,413 casualties ─ 427 deaths and 986 injuries ─ up 22pc from a year earlier.
If that trend continues, the figure will top the 2017 full-year record of nearly 2,300 casualties.
The UNAMA attributed 52pc of suicide and complex attacks to IS, mainly in Kabul and Nangarhar where the group established a stronghold after emerging in Afghanistan in 2014.
The Taliban was responsible for 40pc of such attacks.
While the Taliban is Afghanistan’s largest militant group and holds or contests more territory than any other, IS has repeatedly demonstrated its ability to carry out devastating attacks in urban areas.