News / Asia

UN: Afghanistan Civilian Casualties Hit Record High

An Afghan wounded man, right, lies on the bed in a hospital as his relative sits on a chair beside him in the city of Kandahar, south of Kabul, Afghanistan, July 9, 2014.
An Afghan wounded man, right, lies on the bed in a hospital as his relative sits on a chair beside him in the city of Kandahar, south of Kabul, Afghanistan, July 9, 2014.
Lisa Schlein

A new United Nations report finds a record number of civilians have been killed and injured in Afghanistan in the first half of this year.  

The report blames most of the 24 percent increase in civilian casualties on the Taliban.

It attributes the worsening situation for civilians to the changing nature of conflict in Afghanistan, saying ground combat among the warring parties has now surpassed improvised explosive devices as the leading cause of conflict-related death and injury to Afghan civilians.  
 
The report finds ground engagements and crossfire are hitting children and women with unprecedented force. 
 
"During the first half of 2014, over 1,000 kids were either injured or killed in Afghanistan, which is a 30 percent increase compared to last year," said Cecile Pouilly, spokeswoman for the U.N. Human Rights Office. "And similarly, you have many more women being injured.  Sixty-four of them were injured during the first six months of 2014 because this ground engagement is really taking place in public places, sometimes at the very home of ordinary people." 
 
Civilian deaths and injuries caused by mortars, rocket-propelled grenades and small arms fire in ground engagements have jumped dramatically, according to the report. In the first six months of the year, the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan documents 4,853 civilian casualties, including 1,564 civilian deaths.

It says ground engagements have caused two of every five civilian casualties in 2014, accounting for 39 percent of all civilian casualties.  
 
Improvised explosive devices used by anti-government elements as the second leading cause of civilian casualties this year, with suicide and complex attacks by these groups as the third leading cause of deaths and injuries. The report attributes three quarters of all civilian casualties to the anti-government forces.

Pouilly notes the Taliban has publicly claimed responsibility for 76 attacks on military targets, as well as 69 attacks that deliberately targeted civilians.

She says the victims include tribal elders, civilian government employees and civilians simply sitting in restaurants and other public places.
 
"They may amount to war crimes, indeed," Pouilly said. "You know, attacks which fail to distinguish between military and civilian objective, and attacks that deliberately attack civilians are indeed serious violations of international humanitarian law."  
 
The U.N. mission began monitoring civilian casualties in 2009.  Compared with the first six months of 2009, the number of civilians killed by anti-government elements this year has doubled, according to the international organization. On the other hand, the UN says the number of civilians killed by pro-government forces has been cult in half between 2009 and 2014.  
 
It attributes 9 percent of all civilian casualties this year to pro-government forces, 8 percent to Afghan national security forces and 1 percent to international forces.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
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 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 Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
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.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid