News / Asia

UN: Afghan Civilian Casualties Up Almost 25 Percent

Men carry a man who was wounded during a suicide car bomb attack in Kabul June 11, 2013.
Men carry a man who was wounded during a suicide car bomb attack in Kabul June 11, 2013.
Sharon Behn
— The United Nations said civilian casualties from the conflict in Afghanistan have increased dramatically this year. News of the figures came as 14 people were killed by a Taliban suicide bomber Tuesday near Afghanistan's Supreme Court. The increasing number of civilians killed could impact Afghanistan national elections next year and its transition to security independence as international combat forces leave next year.

Civilians are bearing the brunt of the violence in Afghanistan. According to a U.N. report released Tuesday, more than 3,000 civilians have been killed and wounded in the first five months of this year. A fifth of those were children.

The head of the U.N. Assistance Mission to Afghanistan, Jan Kubis, said the situation in the country has worsened, with civilian casualties up 24 percent compared to the same period last year.

He said insurgent attacks are responsible for three quarters of those casualties, and targeting civilians is unacceptable.

"Targeting civilians is a crime punishable, and people targeting civilians will be punished for this, and I cannot understand this, also from another perspective," Kubis said. "Where is the honor in targeting civilians? What kind of show of “bravery,” in quotations marks, is this targeting civilians, killing unarmed people that are working for the people of this country?”

Kubis said the rate of civilians dying from insurgent-led "complex attacks" involving bombs, rockets, and other weapons has gone up 800 percent compared to two years ago.

Analyst Omar Sharifi of the Kabul-based American Institute of Afghanistan Studies said the Taliban and other anti-government forces are using violence to try to position themselves for next year’s national elections and political transition.

“This is a way to push and put more pressure on the authorities here, and on the other hand, even push, kind of disrupt the whole process of transition in Afghanistan," he said. "We expect more of [these attacks] that attack happens, because it is a very important year and if they make an impact on this year, which means they will have an impact on the election, which is kind of the milestone of our current history.”

Kubis also voiced concern about insurgent assaults against medical and humanitarian personnel, demanding they be respected and protected at all times.

The UNAMA chief said the mission had reached out to the Taliban insurgency on how to reduce civilian casualties, and had “received signals” the militants were willing to talk.

He said in the same period from January 1 to June 6 this year, pro-government forces had caused nine percent of civilian casualties.  The overall picture, he said, was “not good at all.”

Afghan security forces are taking on the lead for all security operations as the NATO-led international combat troops continue their withdrawal by the end of 2014. The security situation is to be one of the main discussion points at the U.N. Security Council meeting on Afghanistan scheduled for June 20.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid