Sunday, February 24, 2019

Have we forgotten about Afghanistan

A record number of civilians were killed in Afghanistan last year according to a UN report, which blames an increase in suicide bombings by Islamic State, guerrilla war by the Taliban and airstrikes by US-led coalition forces.

In its annual report published on Sunday, the UN assistance mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said 3,804 civilians were killed in 2018, the highest toll since it began compiling figures in 2009. Another 7,189 were wounded. 
The reports blames insurgents for 63% of civilian deaths and injuries in 2018. It says the Taliban were responsible for 37%, Isis 20%, and other armed groups 6%. The government and its US and Nato allies were blamed for 24%, a significant increase on 2017, with many the result of increased airstrikes. The US military says it carried out 6,823 airstrikes in 2018, the highest figure in six years. Taliban have been carrying out near-daily attacks on the Afghan security forces.
The UN envoy, Tadamichi Yamamoto, called the increase in civilian casualties “deeply disturbing and wholly unacceptable”. Hundreds of thousands of Afghans have also been displaced by the conflict, both within and beyond the country’s borders.  “It is time to put an end to this human misery and tragedy,” said Yamamoto. “The best way to halt the killing and maiming of civilians is to stop the fighting. That is why there is all the more need now to use all our efforts to bring about peace.”

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