UN: Afghan Civilian Deaths to Equal, Exceed Record
- VOA News,August 6, 2015
Civilian casualties of the armed conflict in Afghanistan this year are projected to equal or exceed the country's deadliest year on record, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) announced Wednesday in Kabul.
According to UNAMA's 2015 Midyear Report on Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict, 4,921 civilian casualties were documented in the first half of 2015.
The 1,592 deaths and 3,329 injuries represent a 1 percent increase in total civilian casualties compared to the same period in 2014, the deadliest year for Afghan civilians on record.
About 90 percent of civilian casualties resulted from intensified ground engagement between Afghan security forces and insurgents, including "improvised explosive devices, complex and suicide attacks, and targeted killings," the report said.
It attributed 70 percent of civilian casualties to anti-government forces, a slight decrease from 2014. Targeted killings of civilians perceived to be supporting the government were the leading cause of death.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, in a statement sent to VOA and other media outlets, said the UNAMA report was “partial and not based on facts.”
Mujahid insisted the findings of the report should have been shared with the Taliban before being made public to include the insurgent group’s reservations and stance on the civilian casualties.
Civilian deaths and injuries caused by pro-government forces represented 16 percent of total civilian casualties — 15 percent attributed to Afghan National Security Forces and pro-government militias, and 1 percent attributed to NATO and U.S. forces.