Child deaths increase by nine percent in Afghanistan, according to UN


Women and children have borne the brunt of the increase in civilian casualties, with UNAMA blaming the use of IEDs and aerial operations in populated areas for the jump.

"In the first half of 2017, more civilian deaths and injury from suicide and complex attacks were documented by UNAMA than any previous six month period since the mission began systematic documentation of civilian casualties in 2009", the report said. According to the UNAMA, 40 per cent of civilian casualties - 596 casualties and 1,483 injured - were caused by anti-government forces using IEDs, including suicide bombings.

Forty per cent of the casualties were caused by bombs, mines planted by the roadside and suicide vests.

A 2 percent overall increase in civilian deaths was recorded in the region compared to the same time period a year ago.

As more women have joined the workforce in Afghanistan, they have become more vulnerable to insurgents targeting government workers during rush hours in crowded parts of the capital, the United Nations report said.

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"The human cost of this bad conflict in Afghanistan - loss of life, destruction and enormous suffering - is far too high", Tadamichi Yamamoto, the secretary-general's special representative for Afghanistan, said in a statement. This reflects the growing number of attacks across the country.

A total of 174 women were confirmed killed and 462 injured, an overall rise of 23 percent from the same period a year ago.

In May, a massive truck bomb in the heart of the capital, Kabul, detonated by a suicide attacker, killed at least 92 people and wounding almost 500 in what the United Nations called the "deadliest incident documented" since the global military intervention that toppled the Taliban regime in 2001.

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

"Many Afghan civilians are suffering psychological trauma, having lost family and friends, and are living in fear knowing the risks they face as they go about their daily lives. Many more have been forced from their homes and suffered lasting damage to their health, education and livelihoods", Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, said in a statement accompanying the report.

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UNAMA annual reports indicate that civilian casualties were on the rise from the withdrawal of many worldwide troops from Afghanistan after 2011 and the official end of NATO's combat mission in 2014.

In addition to the civilian deaths, 3,581 people were injured, according to UNAMA.

The report blamed antigovernment forces for 67 percent of the civilian casualties, holding the Taliban responsible for 43 percent, the Islamic State for 5 percent, and unidentified groups for 19 percent.

Out of over 1,500 documented civilian deaths in Afghanistan in the first six months of 2017, the United Nations has attributed 327 - or almost one-fifth - to pro-government forces.

The highest numbers of casualties occurred in provinces of Kabul, Helmand, Kandahar, Nangarhar, Uruzgan, Faryab, Herat, Laghman, Kunduz, and Farah.

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It also recommended ongoing support from global military forces to support and train the Afghan national army.