Afghanistan concerned over growing civilian casualties

Kabul, Feb 15 (IANS) The Afghan government has expressed grief over the spike in civilian deaths and injuries, the presidential palace said on Monday.

On Sunday, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) released its annual report on protection of civilians in armed conflict.

The overall civilian casualties hit a record high in 2015 as about 11,000 non-combatants were killed and injured, Xinhua cited the report that showed a four percent increase in compare with 2014.

“This report confirms the horrifically high price Afghans are paying as a result of the conflict, whereby the actions of the Taliban and other terrorist groups are seeking to deny our citizens the right to live in peace and protect their families from harm,” the palace said.

Some 3,545 civilians were killed and 7,457 injured as the violence spread in different places of the country in 2015.

The NATO and the US forces completed their combat mission in Afghanistan by the end of 2014, after 13 years of military presence in the country.

“The Afghan government is particularly saddened by the sharp increase in loss of life of Afghan women and girls. The Taliban increasingly trained their sights on Afghan women and girls — maiming them, killing them, and snatching away their constitutional and human rights,” the statement said.

The UN report has highlighted 37 percent increase in women casualties and a 14 percent increase in child casualties last year in compare with 2014.

Some 850 civilians were killed while 570 were injured by targeted killings and attack in 2015.

The government urged UNAMA’s monitoring team to pay particular attention to the increasing number of targeted attacks on civilian personal and institutions, including community elders throughout the country and especially in the south and southeast.

“Our analysts have identified a pattern in the methods in which these violent attacks were carried out and concluded that there is a systematic effort underway to terrorise these communities and intimidate anyone who denounces violence against civilian populations,” the statement said.

The UN report has attributed 62 percent of the casualties to the Taliban and other insurgent groups, 17 percent were attributed to security forces while 17 percent of civilian casualties were unattributed and the rest four percent were caused by explosive remnants of war.

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