KABUL, Afghanistan – While war in the country has intensified since the beginning of intra-Afghan talks in early September, the overall civilian casualty shows a 30 percent drop in 2020 compared to the previous year’s figure, according to a new report released by the UNAMA Tuesday.
”The number of Afghan civilians killed and injured in the conflict has failed to slow since the start of intra-Afghan peace talks, although the overall civilian casualty figure for the first nine months of 2020 dropped by around 30 per cent compared to the same period in 2019,” said the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).
The Mission’s latest quarterly report documented 5,939 civilian casualties (2,117 killed and 3,822 injured) from January 1st to September 30, 2020. High levels of violence continue with a devastating impact on civilians, with Afghanistan remaining among the deadliest places in the world to be a civilian.
According to the report, child casualties amounted to 31 percent of all civilian casualties in the first nine months of 2020, and women casualties 13 percent, demonstrating more than four out of every ten civilian casualties are children or women.
“While the number of civilian casualties documented is the lowest in the first nine months of any year since 2012, the harm done to civilians remain inordinate and shocking,” the report exclaimed.
UNAMA urges all parties to the conflict must do more to protect civilians from harm by urgently reviewing practices and strengthening mitigation measures, as well as working towards an end to the fighting – the only way to definitively stop conflict-related civilian casualties.
“The peace talks will need some time to help deliver peace. But all parties can immediately prioritize discussions and take urgent, and frankly overdue, additional steps to stem the terrible harm to civilians,” said Deborah Lyons, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan.
“New thinking and concrete action towards safeguarding civilian life will not only save thousands of families from suffering and grief but it can also help lessen recriminations and, instead, bolster confidence and trust among negotiators,” Lyons, who is also head of UNAMA, added.