The number of civilians killed in Afghanistan reached a record in the first half of the year, despite last month's ceasefire, with a surge in suicide attacks claimed by ISIS, the United Nations said on Sunday.
(AhlulBayt News Agency) - The number of civilians killed in Afghanistan reached a record in the first half of the year, despite last month's ceasefire, with a surge in suicide attacks claimed by ISIS, the United Nations said on Sunday.
Deaths rose 1 percent to 1,692, although injuries dropped 5 percent to 3,430, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said in its latest civilian casualty report. Overall civilian casualties were down 3 percent.
Hopes that peace may one day be agreed in Afghanistan were raised last month by a three-day truce over the Eid holiday which saw unprecedented scenes of Taliban militants mingling with security forces in Kabul and other cities.
"The brief ceasefire demonstrated that the fighting can be stopped and that Afghan civilians no longer need to bear the brunt of the war," said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the senior U.N. official in Afghanistan said in a statement.
But with heavy fighting seen across the country during the first half the year and repeated suicide attacks in Kabul and major provincial cities like Jalalabad, the report underlines the dire security situation still facing Afghanistan.
It also pointed to increased activity by ISIS reflected in a doubling in casualties in Nangarhar, the eastern province whose capital is Jalalabad, where they have conducted a series of high profile attacks over recent months.
The main causes of casualties were ground engagements between security forces and militant groups, roadside bombs, as well as suicide and complex attacks, which caused 22 percent more casualties than in the same period last year.
Hundreds of civilians were killed in attacks on targets as diverse as Shi'ite shrines, offices of government ministries and aid groups, sports events and voter registration stations.
Fifty-two percent of the casualties from suicide and complex attacks were attributed to ISIS, often known as Daesh, while 40 percent were attributed to the Taliban.