Latest Count of Afghan Civilian Casualties Is 'Awful'

More women and children are being caught in the crossfire
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 15, 2016 12:15 AM CST
Civilian Casualties in Afghanistan Hit 6-Year High
An injured boy sits on a hospital bed following an attack in Ghazni, Afghanistan.   (AP Photo/Rahmatullah Nikzad)

Civilian injuries in Afghanistan's long war with the Taliban rose last year, with women and children again bearing the brunt of the violence, the United Nations said in a report on Sunday. A total of 3,545 civilians were killed in 2015 as a result of the war, the UN report said, with another 7,457 wounded. The figures mark a 4% drop in civilian deaths, but a 9% rise in civilian injuries, compared to 2014. The UN's Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said 2015 had the "highest number of total civilian casualties recorded by UNAMA since 2009." It also said that 10% of civilian casualties were women, up 37% from the year before, and 25% were children, up 14%.

"The most important finding in the report is that 11,002 Afghans—civilians, noncombatants—have died or been injured in 2015; this figure surpasses by 4% the same figure for 2014," says UNAMA head Nicholas Haysom, per the AP. "The truth is the figures in themselves are awful—over 11,000 Afghans died or were injured last year as a result of this conflict," he says. The report found that most of the dead and injured were caught in crossfire. The annual report, titled "Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict," is based on on-site investigations where possible. It attributed 62% of all civilian casualties to anti-government elements, including the Taliban. Another 17% were blamed on pro-government forces and 2% on international military forces. (More Afghanistan stories.)

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