UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 6 (Xinhua) — The United Nations on Monday reported a record number of civilian deaths in Afghanistan in 2016, and called for urgent action to protect civilians in the Asian country.
“A new report issued today by our colleague at the UN Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has detailed the highest number of civilian casualties ever recorded in a single year in the country, including record figures for children killed and injured in 2016,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said at a daily news briefing here.
“The alarmingly high figures have prompted the UN to call on all warring parties to take urgent steps to keep people safe,” the spokesman said.
The report details more than 11,400 conflict-related civilian casualties, the highest figure since the UN began systematically documenting casualty figures in 2009, he noted.
A total of 3,498 civilians were killed and 7,920 were wounded in 2016, a combined increase of three percent over the previous year, according to the annual report for 2016.
“All parties to the conflict must take immediate concrete measures to protect the ordinary Afghan men, women and children whose lives are being shattered,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the UN secretary-general’s special representative for Afghanistan.
Fighting between Afghan security forces and armed groups, especially in the country’s populated areas, remained “the leading cause of civilian casualties” more than two years after NATO’s combat mission ended, said the UNAMA.
About 61 percent of all civilian casualties were caused by armed groups like the Taliban and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which is also known as the Islamic State, the latest UN report said.