UN records highest civilian casualties in Afghanistan

Civilian casualties hit record high in Afghanistan by 2015, reports UN

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Pakistani mourners in Charsada offer funeral prayers for labourers killed by Afghan Taliban militants on April 9, 2015.

Civilian casualties of the war in Afghanistan hit record levels for the past 7 consecutive years until 2015, the United Nations reported on Sunday.

The international organization said in its annual report that at least 3,545 civilians died and another 7,457 were injured by fighting last year in a 4 percent increase over 2014.

"The harm done to civilians is totally unacceptable," said Nicholas Haysom, the head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan.

Nicholas Haysom, the head of the UN. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, speaking in the press conference, 2015.

Investigators suggested that there will be more civilians caught in the crossfire due to the increasing fighting between Western-backed government forces and militant groups.

Land assaults were the leading cause of civilian deaths at 37 percent, along with the roadside bombs at 21 percent and suicide attacks at 17 percent.

Women and children were especially affected, as casualties among women raised 37 percent while children deaths and injuries increased by 14 percent.

Casualties caused by pro-government security forces raised 28 percent compared to 2014, for 15 percent of the total.

US air strike in October on a Doctors Without Borders hospital, holds a large part in the 9-percent rise in civilian casualties caused by international military forces, in which 42 staff, patients, family members were killed and another 43 were injured.

The report found that 103 civilians were killed and 67 wounded by foreign forces last year in total.

Militant groups such as the Taliban were blamed for the majority of civilian deaths and injuries by 62 percent over the past years. Investigators blamed militant groups for using tactics that causes “deliberate or indiscriminate” harm to civilians.

Inhabitants in the north and south are largely effected from the conflict between Afghan security forces and Taliban offensives in Kunduz and Helmand provinces, among other areas as well.

"The report references commitments made by all parties to the conflict to protect civilians, however, the figures documented in 2015 reflect a disconnect between commitments made and the harsh reality on the ground," said Danielle Bell, director of the UN human rights programme in Afghanistan.

Nearly 59,000 deaths and injuries recorded by the UN since it has begun recording civilian casualties systematically in Afghanistan in 2009.

TRTWorld and agencies