UN says Afghan civilian casualties drop 15% final yr

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) – The variety of civilians killed and injured in violence throughout war-tired Afghanistan fell 15% final yr from 2019, in line with a United Nations report launched on Tuesday.

The United Nations Help Mission in Afghanistan and the United Nations Human Rights Workplace attributed the drop in civilian casualties partially to an obvious tactical shift from insurgents to focused assassinations, much less suicide bombings and a pointy drop within the variety of casualties attributed to worldwide navy forces.

But Afghanistan stays among the many deadliest locations on the earth to be a civilian. A distressing characteristic of the battle stays its disproportionate influence on Afghan ladies and youngsters, who account for 43% of all casualties.

Assaults concentrating on civilians embrace assaults on members of the judiciary, the media and activists. Spiritual minorities, particularly the Shia Muslim inhabitants, most of whom additionally belong to the Hazara ethnic group, and the Sikh inhabitants have additionally been focused.

The full variety of civilian casualties in 2020 of 8,820 – of which 3,035 have been killed and 5,785 others injured – fell beneath 10,000 for the primary time since 2013. Final yr’s complete was 15% in comparison with 2019, the UN mentioned.

Afghanistan has seen a spike in bombings, focused assassinations and nationwide battlefield violence as Taliban-Afghan peace talks in Qatar stalled . It has been over a month for the reason that events final met to debate the best way to proceed.

In the meantime, President Joe Biden’s administration is reviewing the US-Taliban peace deal that was signed on February 29 final yr. Inside this framework, Washington has undertaken to withdraw all international troops from Afghanistan on Could 1.

Peace negotiations in Afghanistan between Afghan authorities officers and the Taliban in Qatar started on September 12, however did not mitigate the size of civilian harm – a key indicator of ranges of violence. As an alternative, there was an escalation in violence within the fourth quarter of the yr.

For the primary time since starting systematic documentation in 2009, UNAMA recorded a rise in civilian casualties recorded within the fourth quarter in comparison with the third quarter. As well as, this era marked a forty five% improve in civilian casualties in comparison with the identical three months in 2019, not least attributable to the usage of improvised explosive units and focused assassinations.

In October, civilian casualties have been the best of any month in 2020, and in November, UNAMA recorded the best variety of civilian casualties of any November because it started systematic documentation in 2009 Together with the final improve in violence on the finish of the yr, the inhabitants confronted a sequence of focused killings, many certified as killings, of civilians, together with media, and social activists. civilians, members of the judiciary and the civil administration of the federal government, in addition to members of the civilian household of combatants.

“2020 may have been the yr of peace in Afghanistan. As an alternative, hundreds of Afghan civilians have perished on account of the battle, ”mentioned Deborah Lyons, the UN Particular Consultant of the Secretary-Basic for Afghanistan. “The overarching goal of this necessary report is to offer the accountable events with info and suggestions to take fast and concrete motion to guard civilians. I urge them to not waste a single day taking pressing motion to keep away from additional struggling. “

The report attributes 62% of casualties to anti-government forces in 2020, with the Taliban chargeable for most of them – 46% – and the Islamic State group chargeable for 8%.

Professional-government forces precipitated 1 / 4 of all civilian casualties, totaling 2,231, in line with the report. This contains 841 killed and 1,390 injured, a 24% lower from 2019, with Afghan nationwide safety forces chargeable for most of those deaths – 22% of the whole.

Though there was a rise within the variety of civilian casualties that weren’t claimed by any social gathering and for which UNAMA couldn’t assign accountability, the report discovered that the Taliban precipitated 19% civilian casualties in lower than in 2019 and ISIS precipitated 45% lower than the earlier yr. .

Combating on the bottom was the primary explanation for civilian casualties in 2020. They have been chargeable for 36% of civilian casualties, a slight improve from 2019. Subsequent are suicide and non-suicide assaults utilizing improvised explosive units, which have causes 34.5% of the victims final. yr, a lower of 30%. Focused assassinations by anti-government forces claimed 14% of the casualties in 2020, up 45%, and pro-government airstrikes claimed 8%, down 34%.

“Finally, the easiest way to guard civilians is to ascertain a humanitarian ceasefire,” mentioned Lyons, who can be the top of UNAMA. “These events that refuse to contemplate a ceasefire should acknowledge the devastating penalties of such a posture on the lives of Afghan civilians.”

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