Increased number of victims of women and children in Afghanistan, according to the UN


More women and children have been killed and injured in Afghanistan in the first half of 2021 than in the first six months of any year since the United Nations began to systematically keep the count in 2009, according to a UN report on Monday.

The war-torn country has seen a 47% increase in the number of all civilians killed and injured in the violence in Afghanistan in the first six months of the year, compared to the same period last year, according to The report.

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“I implore the Taliban and Afghan leaders to heed the dark and frightening trajectory of the conflict and its devastating impact on civilians,” said Deborah Lyons, UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan.

“The report provides a clear warning that an unprecedented number of Afghan civilians will perish and be maimed this year if the growing violence is not stopped,” Lyons added in a statement accompanying the report.

The Taliban have quickly seized important territory in recent weeks, seized strategic border crossings with several neighboring countries and threaten a number of provincial capitals. These advances come as the last US and NATO troops leave Afghanistan.

The report found a particularly marked increase in the number of killings and injuries since May, when international military forces began to withdraw and fighting escalated in the wake of the Taliban offensive.

The United Nations mission in Afghanistan reported in its mid-year update 2021 on the protection of civilians in armed conflict in Afghanistan that there were 1,659 civilians killed and 3,254 injured. He said that is a 47% increase over the same period last year.

Women and children accounted for nearly half of all civilian casualties in the first half of 2021 at 46%, according to the report. Thirty-two percent were children, with 468 killed and 1,214 injured. Fourteen percent of civilian casualties were women, with 219 killed and 508 injured, according to the report.

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While making quick gains on the ground, the Taliban have also said they don’t want to monopolize power. However, they insist that there will be no peace in Afghanistan until there is a new negotiated government in Kabul and President Ashraf Ghani is removed from office.

Lyons, the UN envoy who also heads the UN mission in Afghanistan, called on the Taliban and Afghan leaders to step up their efforts at the negotiating table. “Stop the Afghan fighting against Afghans. Protect the Afghan people and give them hope for a better future,” she said.

The UN report warned that without a significant de-escalation in violence, Afghanistan is on track for 2021 to have the highest-ever number of documented civilian casualties in a single year since the start of the holding of the UN registers in the country.

The number of civilians killed and injured in May and June is almost as high as that recorded in the previous four months. In May and June, there were 2,392 casualties, of which 783 were killed and 1,609 injured. This is the highest for those months since systematic documentation began in 2009, according to the report.

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Much of the action on the battlefield in May and June took place outside cities, according to the report. But the UN fears that if intensive military action is taken in densely populated urban areas, the consequences for Afghan civilians could be catastrophic.

“The search for a military solution will only increase the suffering of the Afghan people,” the report said.

He blamed anti-government forces for 64% of all civilian casualties, with 39% inflicted by the Taliban, nearly 9% by ISIS and 16% undetermined. Afghan security forces were responsible for 23% of civilian casualties and pro-government armed groups for 2%.

The May 8 attack outside the Sayed ul-Shuhuda school in the Afghan capital of Kabul left more than 300 civilian casualties, mostly girls, 85 of whom were killed. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, according to the report.

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The UN attributed 11% of all civilian casualties to crossfire during ground engagements in which the exact party responsible for the casualties could not be determined.

According to the report, the main cause of civilian casualties was improvised explosive devices, followed by ground fighting and targeted assassinations.

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