ISLAMABAD - The armed conflict in Afghanistan has reportedly caused more than 2,300 casualties, including 1,317 deaths, over the past month in operations conducted by pro-government forces and Taliban insurgents.
The private Afghan news agency, Pajhwok, released the casualty figures Sunday, crediting its own sources from across 30 out of 34 provinces of the war-shattered country.
It noted the casualties in May increased by an alarming 37 percent compared to the previous month. It said that victims included Afghan security forces, insurgents and civilians.
There is no let up in the violence as the Afghan Defense Ministry claimed to have killed nearly 200 Taliban fighters in the past 24 hours while the insurgent group also has made similar assertions of inflicting massive casualties on government forces.
A bomb explosion also struck a bus carrying students in the capital Kabul on Sunday, causing more than 22 casualties.
Separately, an Afghan watchdog reported Sunday that the violence killed nearly 190 civilians, including 33 children, and injured 340 others in May.
The Civilian Protection Advocacy Group (CPAG) said in its monthly report that the number of fatalities almost doubled in the past month, which was also the Muslim holy month of fasting.
The non-governmental organization said that most of the civilian casualties occurred in capital Kabul and the provinces of Nangarhar, Herat, Ghazni and Helmand. It blamed landmines, suicide attacks, bomb blasts and incidents of targeted killings.
The second major cause for the civilian casualties during the previous month were airstrikes by pro-government forces, according to the CPAG. The watchdog urged the warring sides to protect civilian lives and seek a resolution to the Afghan conflict.
The United Nations has also warned the civilian casualty toll continues to rise and documented 1,773 civilian casualties, including 581 deaths, in the first three months of 2019.
The number of casualties has particularly been increasing since the Taliban unleashed its annual spring in mid-April, which leads to intensified battlefield and other violence in Afghanistan.
The chief of the Taliban is calling on the United States to accept his insurgent group’s “logical proposals” for advancing peace negotiations between the two adversaries on ending the 17-year-old war in Afghanistan.
Hibatullah Akhundzada made the remarks in his annual message ahead of next week's Muslim festival of Eid al-Fitr in Afghanistan as the months-long dialogue process has stalemated over the Taliban’s insistence it would not stop fighting and engage in intra-Afghan peace talks until all U.S.-led foreign troops withdraw from the country.
”The Islamic Emirate (Taliban) with its peaceful
A U.S.-led initiative to seek a negotiated settlement to the war with the Taliban is currently underway but the insurgents have refused to cease fighting.