Record number of Afghan civilian casualties due to attacks in 2017

Record number of Afghan civilian casualties due to attacks in 2017

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) reported that civilian deaths across the country fell nine percent overall in 2017, with 10,453 casualties including 3,438 deaths and 7,015 wounded.

The 2017 report, launched in Kabul, revealed a decline compared to 2016 when 11,434 casualties - 3,510 dead, 7,924 injured - were recorded, Efe news agency reported.

The reports said the second leading cause of civilian casualties was ground engagements between antigovernment and pro-government forces, although there was a decline of 19 percent from the record levels seen in 2016.

FILE - Men mourn over relatives' bodies in a hospital near the site of an explosion in Herat, Afghanistan, June 6, 2017.

According to the press release, at least 65 percent of casualties were due to the activity of anti-government elements, including the Islamic State terrorist group (IS, banned in Russia) and Taliban radical movement.

The rest, she added, were caused mainly by unattributed cross-fire and unattributed explosive remnants of war.

In 2017, 359 women died in the Afghan conflict and 865 were wounded, a one per cent rise over the previous year, although the number of children affected fell from 2016 by 10 per cent with 861 dead and 2,318 wounded.

Casualties from suicide and complex attacks rose by 17 per cent countrywide compared to 2016, marking the highest number since the United Nations began documentation in 2009.

In this photograph taken on April 11, 2017, smoke rises after an air strike by USA aircraft on positions during an ongoing an operation against Islamic State (ISIS) militants in the Achin district of Afghanistan's Nangarhar province.

The largest attack in front of the German embassy in Kabul killed 92 people and injured another 491 people, according to the report.

The attacks have toughened both the US and Afghan governments' stand against initiating talks with the insurgents, although neither side seems capable of winning the conflict. The insurgents in turn have vowed to retaliate with more force in the coming summer fighting season.

"But in the absence of such a peace agreement we call on those parties making the decisions to use weapons that kill and maim civilians to commit and to making changes that will have a much stronger impact on civilian protection".

Afghanistan has always been suffering from an unstable political situation due to the activity of different terrorist groups.

"Afghan forces will maintain control of most major population centers with coalition force support, but the intensity and geographic scope of Taliban activities will put those centers under continued strain", the assessment noted.