An IDP camp in the northern Afghanistan Province of Balkh. Photo: UNAMA/Eric Kanalstein
18 February 2015 – Civilian casualties in Afghanistan topped 10,000 in 2014, a 22 per cent increase compared to the past year, reflecting increased ground battles between armed groups and the Government, and a drastic drawdown of Western troop presence in the country, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said today.
A total of 3,699 civilians were killed and 6,849 injured in 2014. The figures, released today in the Annual Report on Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict and prepared in coordination with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, are the highest number of civilian casualties recorded in a single year since the UN started keeping track in 2009.
The report also found that for the first time since 2009, more Afghan civilians were killed and injured in ground engagements than improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Civilian deaths and injuries from ground operations surged 54 per cent in 2014. Parties to the conflict are increasingly using mortars, rockets and grenades, sometimes indiscriminately, in civilian areas.
“Rising civilian deaths and injuries in 2014 attests to a failure to fulfil commitments to protect Afghan civilians from harm,” the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and head of UNAMA, Nicholas Haysom, said today as he presented the report in Kabul.
“Parties to the conflict should understand the impact of their actions and take responsibility for them, uphold the values they claim to defend, and make protecting civilians their first priority. We need to see concrete steps and a real drop in civilian casualties in 2015,” Mr. Haysom stressed further.
The UNAMA report highlighted that ‘Anti-Government Elements’ remain responsible for 72 per cent of all civilian casualties. Meanwhile, Pro-Government Forces are responsible for 14 per cent of civilian casualties with 12 per cent of that linked to the Afghan national security forces and two per cent to international military forces. Ten per cent of civilian casualties could not be attributed to a specific party and three per cent were caused by explosive remnants of war.
Source: United Nations
Editor in Chief