Afghanistan witnessed 11 per cent increase in civilian deaths that is 3,804 in 2018, says the United Nations report by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). The report also highlighted the highest recorded number of boys and girls killed in the conflict during a single year. The deaths and civilian injuries have been attributed to ongoing onslaught by the Taliban, Islamic State Khorosan Province (ISKP) and Anti-Government Elements (AGEs) as well as pro-government forces.
UNAMA says there are other factors too, such as the increase in suicide attacks as well as aerial and search operations. Tadamichi Yamamoto, the Secretary General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, said the report’s findings show the level of harm and suffering inflicted on civilians in Afghanistan is ‘deeply disturbing’.
Yamamoto said “All parties need to take immediate and additional concrete steps to stop a further escalation in the number of civilians harmed and lives destroyed.”
Yamamoto said it is time to put an end to this human misery and tragedy. “The best way to halt the killings and maiming of civilians is to stop the fighting. That is why there is all the more need to use all our efforts to bring about peace,” he added.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet said the conflict in Afghanistan has caused long-lasting suffering, both physical and psychological. She said it was shocking that the number of children killed this year (2018) was the highest on record.
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Bachelet said “In addition to the lives lost, the dire security situation is preventing many Afghans from enjoying their economic, social and cultural rights, with thousands of children already handicapped for life because of attacks on schools and medical facilities.”
The UNAMA expressed concerns about the Taliban’s use of indirect weapons and IEDs that targeted civilians and civilian objects during elections. The weapons are also used against the pro-government forces in civilian areas. Armed conflict only leaves severe impact on children and women, and the innocent civilians suffer.