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Civilian casualties in Afghanistan fell by 15% last year, according to the United Nations

Kabul, Afghanistan (AP) —The number of civilians killed in violence across war-torn Afghanistan fell by 15% last year compared to 2019, according to a UN report released Tuesday.

Afghanistan’s UN Assistance Mission and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights show that the reduction of civilian casualties is a clear tactic by armed groups due to targeted killings, reduced suicide bombings, and a significant reduction in casualties due to international forces. It is partly due to the change in the target.

Still, Afghanistan is one of the deadliest civilians in the world. The dire features of the conflict remain disproportionate to Afghan women and children, who account for 43% of all casualties.

Attacks targeting civilians include assaults on members of the judiciary, media and activists. It also targets the religious minority, especially the Shiite Muslim population, most of whom belong to the Hazara ethnic group, and the Sikh population.

According to the United Nations, the total number of civilian casualties in 2020 was 8,820, with 3,035 casualties and 5,785 injured, falling below 10,000 for the first time since 2013. Last year’s total was down 15% compared to 2019.

In Afghanistan, bombing, targeted killings, and battlefield violence are skyrocketing nationwide as peace talks in Qatar between the Taliban and the Afghan government are stalled. It’s been over a month since the two camps last met and discussed how to proceed.

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden’s administration is considering the US Taliban peace agreement signed on February 29, last year. As part of that, Washington promised to withdraw all foreign troops from Afghanistan on May 1.

Afghan peace talks between Afghan government representatives and the Taliban in Qatar began on September 12, but failed to mitigate the scale of civilian harm, an important indicator of violence levels. Instead, there was an outbreak of violence in the fourth quarter of this year.

For the first time since the start of systematic documentation in 2009, UNAMA aggregated civilian casualties recorded in the fourth quarter compared to the third quarter. In addition, civilian casualties increased by 45% during this period, especially due to the use of improvised explosive devices and targeted killings, compared to the same three months in 2019.

Civilian casualties in October were the highest in any month of 2020, and UNAMA in November recorded the highest civilian casualties in November since it began systematic documentation in 2009. .. In addition to the increase in overall violence towards the end of the year, the population was “assassinated” by many, civilians, including media, civil society activists, members of the judiciary and private government administration, and civilian family members of combatants. Faced with a series of targeted killings called.

“2020 may have been a year of peace in Afghanistan. Instead, thousands of Afghan civilians have died in conflict,” said Deborah Lyons, Special Representative of the Secretary-General of Afghanistan, the United Nations. Said. “Because this important report has the highest priority of providing facts and recommendations to responsible persons, they will take prompt and concrete steps to protect civilians. More Encourage them not to waste a day on taking urgent steps to avoid suffering. “

The report blamed 62% of rebel casualties in 2020, with the Taliban responsible for most (46%) and the Islamic State group responsible for 8%.

According to the report, pro-government forces caused a quarter of all civilian casualties, a total of 2,231. This includes 841 dead and 1,390 injured, down 24% from 2019, with Afghanistan’s national security forces causing most of these, or 22% of the total.

Although the number of civilian casualties not claimed by either party and UNAMA is not liable for has increased, the Taliban’s civilian casualties are 19% less than in 2019, IS It is 45% less than the previous year. ..

Ground combat was the leading cause of civilian casualties in 2020. It accounted for 36% of civilian casualties, a slight increase compared to 2019. Next were suicide and non-suicide attacks using improvised explosive devices, which finally caused 34.5% of casualties. 30% decrease per year. In 2020, targeted killings by rebels increased 14% of casualties by 45%, and pro-government airstrikes reduced 8% of casualties by 34%.

“Ultimately, the best way to protect civilians is to establish a humanitarian ceasefire,” said Lions, who is also responsible for UNAMA. “Parties that refuse to consider a ceasefire must be aware of the devastating consequences of such an attitude towards the lives of Afghan civilians.”

Civilian casualties in Afghanistan fell by 15% last year, according to the United Nations

Source link Civilian casualties in Afghanistan fell by 15% last year, according to the United Nations

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