Afghan civilian casualties rise in 2013: UN

Afghan civilian casualties rise in 2013: UN
Sat Feb 8, 2014 20:48:17

The number of civilians killed and wounded in the conflict in Afghanistan climbed by 14% last year as fighting intensified between the government and insurgents, the United Nations says.

According to the report released on Saturday, nearly 3,000 civilians were killed and more than 5,600 were injured in 2013.

"The new trend in 2013 of increased civilian casualties from ground engagements, including the alarming increase in women and children casualties, reflected the changing dynamics of the conflict over the year," the United Nations said.

Last year was the worst for women and children since 2009, with the number killed or injured by the conflict increasing by more than one-third from 2012.

The biggest single killer remained improvised explosive devices (IEDs), or bombs, detonated by insurgents in public areas such as markets, roads and government buildings. Bombs accounted for about one-third of the total civilian toll, which the United Nations put at 2,959 deaths and 5,656 injured.

The United States and its allies invaded Afghanistan in 2001 as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror. The offensive removed the Taliban from power, but insecurity remains in the country.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai said in a recent interview with The Sunday Times that he has seen “no good” with the presence of American forces in his country, adding, “This whole 12 years was one of constant pleading with America to treat the lives of our civilians as lives of people.”

The United States also conducts drone attacks in Afghanistan and claims its attacks are part of the so-called war on terror and target militants, however, reports on the ground show that civilians often fall victim to the airstrikes.


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