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FLASH NEWS
Friday, February 26, 2021

UN says Afghan civilian casualties down by 15% final yr

Nonetheless, Afghanistan stays among the many deadliest locations on the planet to be a civilian. A distressing function of the battle stays the disproportionate influence on Afghan girls and youngsters, who make up 43% of all casualties.

The assaults focusing on civilians embrace assaults on members of the judiciary, media and activists. Additionally focused have been non secular minorities, particularly the Shiite Muslim inhabitants, most of whom additionally belong to the Hazara ethnic group, and the Sikh inhabitants.

The general variety of civilian casualties in 2020 of 8,820 — together with 3,035 killed and 5,785 others wounded — fell beneath 10,000 for the primary time since 2013. Final yr’s whole was 15% down in comparison with 2019, the U.N. mentioned.

Afghanistan has seen a nationwide spike in bombings, focused killings and violence on the battlefield as peace negotiations in Qatar between the Taliban and the Afghan authorities have stalled. It’s been over a month for the reason that sides final met to debate how you can proceed.

In the meantime, President Joe Biden’s administration is reviewing the U.S.-Taliban peace deal that was signed Feb. 29 final yr. As a part of it, Washington dedicated to a Could 1 withdrawal of all overseas troops from Afghanistan.

Afghanistan peace negotiations between representatives of the Afghan authorities and the Taliban in Qatar started on Sept. 12 however have did not alleviate the size of civilian hurt — a key indicator of violence ranges. As an alternative, there was an escalation of violence within the fourth quarter of the yr.

For the primary time because it started systematic documentation in 2009, UNAMA tallied a rise civilian casualties recorded within the fourth quarter in contrast with the third quarter. As well as, this era marked a 45% enhance in civilian casualties in comparison with the identical three months in 2019, particularly from using improvised explosive gadgets and focused killings.

In October, civilian casualties have been the very best of any month in 2020, and in November UNAMA documented the very best variety of civilian casualties of any November because it began systematic documentation in 2009. Alongside the general enhance in violence because the yr ended, the inhabitants was confronted with a spate of focused killings, referred to by many as “assassinations,” of civilians, together with media, civil society activists, members of the judiciary and the civilian authorities administration, in addition to civilian members of the family of combatants.

“2020 may have been the yr of peace in Afghanistan. As an alternative, 1000’s of Afghan civilians perished because of the battle,” mentioned Deborah Lyons, the U.N.’s particular consultant of the secretary-general for Afghanistan. “This essential report has the overriding goal of offering the events accountable with the information, and proposals, in order that they take quick and concrete steps to guard civilians. I urge them to not squander a single day in taking the pressing steps to keep away from extra struggling.”

The report blamed 62% of casualties on anti-government forces in 2020 with the Taliban accountable for most of them — 46% — and the Islamic State group accountable for 8%.

Professional-government forces prompted 1 / 4 of all civilian casualties, totaling 2,231, the report mentioned. That features 841 killed and 1,390 wounded, a lower of 24% from 2019, with the Afghan nationwide safety forces inflicting most of those — 22% of the overall.

Whereas there was a rise within the variety of civilian casualties that have been unclaimed by any social gathering and for which UNAMA couldn’t attribute duty, the report discovered the Taliban prompted 19% fewer civilian casualties than in 2019 and IS prompted 45% fewer than the pervious yr.

Floor engagements have been the main explanation for civilian casualties in 2020. They have been accountable for 36% of civilian casualties, a slight enhance in contrast with 2019. Subsequent have been suicide and non-suicide assaults utilizing improvised explosive gadgets, which prompted 34.5% of the casualties final yr, a 30% lower. Anti-government forces focused killings prompted 14% of casualties in 2020, up by 45%, and pro-government airstrikes prompted 8% of casualties, down 34%.

“Finally, one of the best ways to guard civilians is to ascertain a humanitarian ceasefire,” mentioned Lyons, who can be head of UNAMA. “Events refusing to think about a ceasefire should acknowledge the devastating penalties of such a posture on the lives of Afghan civilians.”

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