Afghanistan: civilian casualties at new record high

According to the annual report (PDF) by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), civilian casualties in Afghanistan for 2016 were at a new record high. A total of 3,498 civilians were killed and 7,920 were wounded. Of the dead, 923 were children, as were 2,589 of the injured. Tadamichi Yamamoto, the Special Representative of the Secretary General, said, "All parties to the conflict must take immediate concrete measures to protect the ordinary Afghan men, women and children whose lives are being shattered."

The conflict in Afghanistan, despite receding from the headlines, continues to draw scrutiny from international bodies. In November the International Criminal Court stated that during the initial invasion in 2001, the US may have been guilty of committing war crimes against the Afghan people. In October the UN released a report finding that an ISIS attack on a peaceful demonstration by the Hazara minority in Kabul may have been a war crime. In September the UN called for an investigation into a US drone strike that killed 15 people in Afghanistan, which was intended to target ISIS militants.

From Jurist,  Feb. 6. Used with permission.

Note: UNAMA attributed 61% of civilian deaths and injuries to "Anti-Government Elements" (mainly Taliban);18 24% "to Pro-Government Forces" (20% to Afghan national security forces, two percent to pro-government armed groups and two percent to international military forces); and 10% to ground engagements between Anti-Government Elements and Pro- Government Forces in which the civilian casualties could not be attributed to one specific party. The remaining five percent of civilian casualties could not be attributed to any party and resulted mainly from explosive remnants of war. A preliminary report issued last July reported similar findings.