More than 5,000 civilians casualties recorded in insurgent attacks in Afghanistan in first half of 2017, with at least 1,662 civilians killed and 3,581 wounded.

A man is carried to a hospital on a stretcher after a car bomb attack in Lashkar Gah, Helmand province, Afghanistan, June 22, 2017.
A man is carried to a hospital on a stretcher after a car bomb attack in Lashkar Gah, Helmand province, Afghanistan, June 22, 2017.

The UN on Monday called on insurgent groups in Afghanistan to curb attacks on civilians as more than 5,000 non-combatants were killed or injured in the first six months of this year.

The war in Afghanistan killed at least 1,662 civilians and wounded 3,581 in the first half of the year, roughly similar to the toll in the same period in 2016, UN investigators said in a statement released on Monday.

"The human cost of this ugly war in Afghanistan – loss of life, destruction and immense suffering – is far too high," UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan Head Tadamichi Yamamoto said in a statement.

"The continued use of indiscriminate, disproportionate and illegal improvised explosive devices is particularly appalling and must immediately stop."

Deaths and injuries caused by suicide-bombings and other "complex attacks" increased 15 percent, with at least 40 percent of all civilian casualties caused by anti-government groups using improvised explosives, including along roadsides.

Epicentre of violence

A massive truck bomb in Kabul detonated by a suicide attacker killed at least 92 people and wounded nearly 500 in May.

The UN called the attack as the "deadliest incident documented" since the international military intervention that toppled the Taliban regime in 2001.

No group claimed responsibility for the attack.

Kabul has accounted for nearly 20 percent of all civilian casualties this year.

Suffering children

Among those hit hardest by the violence this year were children, with child deaths increasing by nine percent.

"These civilian attacks need to stop," Save the Children country director David Skinner said.

"Not only do they injure and kill innocent people in the most horrific way, but they cause untold distress and trauma, especially for children, often leading to serious psychosocial issues and impacting their longer term development."

Who's responsible for civilian deaths?

  • Taliban & Daesh

The investigators said the Taliban were responsible for at least 43 percent of all civilian casualties.

Daesh was blamed for five percent, while unidentified anti-government forces accounted for another 19 percent of the total.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid called the UN findings politically motivated "propaganda material".

"The Islamic Emirate is much more sensitive to and vigilant about prevention of civilian casualties than any other side," he added, using the Taliban group's given name.

  • Air strikes

The investigators praised Afghan police and soldiers, who were responsible for a 21 percent drop in civilian casualties this year.

But deaths and injuries from air strikes spiked 43 percent since both Afghan and US forces increased their air operations.

At least 95 people were killed and 137 wounded in air strikes, the investigators said.

Source: Reuters