Afghan conflict is having devastating impact: UN

Mounting toll: A convoy of Afghan Special Forces at a checkpost in the Kandahar province on July 13.   | Photo Credit: DANISH SIDDIQUI

The United Nations warned on July 26 that Afghanistan could see the highest number of civilian deaths in more than a decade if the Taliban’s offensives across the country are not halted.

Violence has surged since May when the insurgents cranked up operations to coincide with a final withdrawal of U.S.-led foreign forces.

In a report released on July 26 documenting civilian casualties for the first half of 2021, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said it expected figures to touch their highest single-year levels since the mission began reporting over a decade ago.

It also warned that Afghan troops and pro-government forces were responsible for a quarter of all civilian casualties.

“Unprecedented numbers of Afghan civilians will perish and be maimed this year if the increasing violence is not stemmed,” UNAMA head Deborah Lyons said in a statement.

“I implore the Taliban and Afghan leaders to take heed to the conflict’s grim and chilling trajectory and its devastating impact on civilians.”

During the first half of 2021, some 1,659 civilians were killed and another 3,254 wounded, the UNAMA report said — a 47% increase on the same period last year.

The rise in civilian casualties was particularly sharp in May and June with 783 civilians killed and 1,609 wounded, it added. “Particularly shocking and of deep concern is that women, boys and girls made up of close to half of all civilian casualties,” the report said.

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Printable version | Sep 25, 2021 11:36:37 AM |

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