The number of civilian casualties as a result of the conflict in Afghanistan reached its highest point in 2016 since the United Nations began keeping records. On the insurgent side, the Islamic State group in the Khorasan province (ISKP) is responsible for a 10-fold increase in civilian casualties (209 deaths and 690 injured), from 2015.
The number of civilian casualties in Afghanistan reached a record high past year, according to new figures released by the UN.
The report also stated that casualties perpetrated by Daesh increased by ten times in 2016 compared to 2015.
The number of child casualties in the long-running Afghan war jumped previous year, spiking 24% from 2015 in large part from unexploded munitions, the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said in a report on Monday.
The disproportionate rise in child casualties across Afghanistan a year ago resulted mainly from a 66 percent increase in civilian casualties from explosive remnants of war, and most of those civilians were children, UNAMA explained.
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"The killing and maiming of thousands of Afghan civilians is deeply harrowing and largely preventable", said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Afghanistan. "The Kabul government and the invading forces are the cause of the civilian casualties", said a spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid. It documented a 66 percent increase in such deaths in 2016. "Children have been killed, blinded, crippled - or inadvertently caused the death of their friends - while playing with unexploded ordnance that is negligently left behind by parties to the conflict" said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein.
"The intensification of efforts by Taliban and other anti-government element groups to seize or maintain territory led to a correlated increase in civilian casualties from ground engagements", said UNAMA.
"Yet another record year of civilian suffering in Afghanistan", he said.
He called on all parties - militants as well as pro-government forces - to cease fighting in populated areas, and stop using schools, hospitals and mosques for military purposes. "It is imperative that the perpetrators, whoever they are, be held accountable for such acts", the report states.