Civilian casualties in Afghanistan hit record high
The number of people killed and wounded in the war in Afghanistan reached a record high in 2015. According to a United Nations’ report, which was released this month, there were 11,002 casualties in total in Afghanistan last year. 3,545 civilians were killed, 7,457 were injured. This is the highest number since the records began in 2009 and a 4% increase on last year’s figures.
The report shows that one in four casualties was a child and there was a 37% increase in women casualties.
“Unprecedented numbers of children were needlessly killed and injured last year,” said Danielle Bell, the UN’s director of human rights in Afghanistan in a statement. “Other children suffered the loss of parents, and increasingly their mothers, sisters, and female role models — one in 10 casualties was a woman.”
At the end of 2014, US and NATO forces were withdrawn from Afghanistan, which gave the Taliban the possibility to push aggressively for territory. The Afghan police and the army struggle in the fight against violent anti-government groups. Last year the Taliban managed to capture 24 of the 329 Afghan districts. Anti-government groups and militants like the Taliban are blamed for 62% of the casualties. The UN report furthermore says that residents in northern and southern Afghanistan were particularly vulnerable as the Taliban and other armed groups intensified their assaults there. The UN also recorded a 28% increase in casualties of pro-government forces. Most of them were caused by Afghan security forces, followed by international military forces and pro-government armed groups.
Since the United Nations began tracking the numbers of civilian casualties in 2009 58,736 people have been wounded or killed in Afghanistan in total.