Afghan civilian deaths down, but more wounded: UN

KABUL: The United Nations said on Sunday that 600 civilians have been killed in Afghanistan’s war in the first quarter of this year, a marked decline from the same period last year, but said the number of wounded civilians has risen.
The latest figures released by the UN mission show that 1,343 people were wounded during the first three months of 2016. Compared to the same period in 2015, civilian deaths are down by 13 per cent but the number of wounded has risen by 11 percent. The highest num¬ber of casualties resulted from civilians being harmed during ground fighting, the UN report said, adding that intensi¬fied fighting in populated areas caused a nearly 30 per cent increase in child casualties and a 5 percent increase in casualties among women.
“Even if a conflict intensifies, it does not have to be matched by corre¬sponding civilian suffering provided parties take their international hu¬manitarian law and human rights ob¬ligations seriously,” Nicholas Haysom, the UN envoy to Afghanistan, said in a statement.
“Failure to respect humanitarian obligations will result in more suf¬fering in a nation that has suffered enough.” he added.
The UN said 60 per cent of casualties were caused by “actions by anti-govern¬ment elements,” apparently referring to the Taliban. The insurgents have denied previous allegations of targeting civilians or putting them in danger.
The report said 19 per cent of casu¬alties were caused by pro-government forces, while 16 per cent could not be attributed to a specific party.

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