(MENAFN - Khaama Press)
UNAMA in a recent report found that the number of civilians killed and injured in the initial three months of 2021 was higher than the previous year.
In the first-quarter report on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflicts 2021, UNAMA indicated that 1,783 civilian casualties were recorded in the first three months of the year.
The civilian death toll reached 573 and further 1,210 others were recorded injured, which shows a 29 percent increase in the violence since the last year.
This extraordinary level of harm inflicted on civilians during the war continues unabated and that a 37 percent increase was recorded in the death and injury toll of women and a 23 percent increase was reported in child casualties compared with the first quarter of 2020.
Deborah Lyons, Secretary-General Special Representative for Afghanistan and head of UNAMA said in the report that 'The number of Afghan civilians killed and maimed, especially women and children, is deeply disturbing. I implore the parties to urgently find a way to stop this violence'.
Peace negotiations were initiated in September of last year, gave hopes for stable security and improvement in the situation for civilians but during the six months between October 2020 and March 2021 UNAMA a 38 percent increase in civilian casualties compared with the same period of the previous year.
'Every possible opportunity for peace must be seized. If levels of violence are not immediately reduced, thousands of Afghan civilians will continue to be killed and injured by fellow Afghans in 2021,' Lyons said.
The same trends drove the overall increase of civilian casualties in the first quarter of 2021, which includes ground engagements, IEDs, and targeted killings, UNAMA said in the report.
Bodies responsible for the majority a 61 percent of civilians casualties are anti-government elements in the first quarter of 2021, 27 percent of the total civilian casualties were caused by pro-government forces in the same quarter.
43.5 percent overall civilian casualties were attributed to the Taliban and the Afghan National Army was blamed for 17 percent of the overall civilian casualties in the UNAMA report.
UNAMA stated that the organization remains deeply concerned about the continued targeting of civilians by anti-government elements, particularly targeting civilians including media workers, civil society activists, targeted killings of women, members of the judiciary, and civilian government administration.
The report shared that 'UNAMA reminds Anti-Government Elements that the deliberate targeting of civilians is prohibited under international law and constitutes a war crime. The mission urges Anti-Government Elements to apply a definition of civilian that accords with international law and to immediately cease all targeting of civilians,'.
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