Spike in Afghan civilian deaths resulting from airstrikes – UNAMA report

According to the latest report by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), the number of civilian casualties in Afghanistan has risen by 39% on a year on year basis. The report also highlights how the use of air-power in Afghanistan has resulted in a significant number of civilian casualties.

According to the report, US and Afghan airstrikes have killed or injured 649 civilians so far this year, 39% higher than the same first nine months in 2017. Further, the report also suggests that sixty percent of this year’s casualties have been women and children.

The report states that:

In the first nine months of 2018, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) continued to document extreme levels of harm to civilians from the armed conflict, including recording the most civilian deaths during the same nine-month period since 2014. UNAMA renews its calls on parties to the armed conflict to better protect the civilian population and urges all parties to take concrete steps toward a peaceful settlement to the conflict in the interest of protecting the population.

From 1 January to 30 September 2018, UNAMA documented 8,050 civilian casualties (2,798 deaths and 5,252 injured), 1 reflecting the same extreme levels of harm to civilians as during the same period in 2017. Civilian deaths increased by five per cent while the number of civilians injured decreased by three per cent. The combined use of suicide and non-suicide improvised explosive devices (IEDs) remained the leading cause of civilian casualties in the first nine months of 2018, causing nearly half of all civilian casualties.

The majority resulted from suicide and complex attacks, which increased both in frequency and in lethality to civilians, driving the overall rise in civilian deaths. Ground engagements were the second leading cause of civilian casualties, followed by targeted and deliberate killings, aerial operations, and explosive remnants of war. Civilians living in the provinces of Nangarhar, Kabul, Helmand, Ghazni, and Faryab were most impacted by the conflict. UNAMA notes with extreme concern that Nangarhar became the province that recorded the most civilian casualties in the first nine months of 2018 with 1,494 civilian casualties (554 deaths and 940 injured), more than double the number of civilian casualties recorded in that province during the same period in 2017.

Find the full report here: UNAMA

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