Afghan civilian casualties rise 24 percent in 2014 first half

Posted By: IANS
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Afghan civilian casualties rise by 24%
Kabul, July 9: Up to 4,853 Afghan civilians were killed and wounded in conflict-related violence in the first six months of 2014, a 24 percent increase over the same period last year, according to a UN mission report issued here Wednesday.

"Ground combat among parties to the armed conflict in Afghanistan surpassed improvised explosive devices (IEDs) as the leading cause of conflict-related death and injury to Afghan civilians in the first six months of 2014," said the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) report.

The report, '2014 Mid-Year Report on Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict', attributed 74 percent of civilian casualties to Taliban and other anti-government elements, Xinhua reported.

Nine percent of the deaths were attributed to Afghan and NATO-led forces while 12 percent were unattributed and the remaining five percent were caused mainly by explosive remnants of war.

"From Jan 1 to June 30 2014, UNAMA documented 4,853 civilian casualties, up 24 percent over the same period in 2013. Included in the toll were 1,564 civilian deaths (up 17 percent) and 3,289 injuries (up 28 percent)," Georgette Gagnon, UNAMA's human rights unit director and representative of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Afghanistan, told reporters at a press conference while releasing the report.

"Ground engagements caused two of every five civilian casualties in 2014, accounting for 39 percent of all civilian casualties, 1,901 in total, up 89 percent from 2013, with 474 civilians killed and 1,427 injured," it said.

The report was prepared in coordination with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, she said.

More than 2,900 civilians, including 1,319 non-combatants who lost their lives in the first half of 2013, were killed and nearly 5,700 were wounded in conflicts and Taliban-led attacks last year.


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