The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan has reported a 23 percent reduction in civilian casualties during the first quarter of 2019, citing a reduction in suicide attacks and harsh winter conditions as the likely causes of reduced civilian casualties.

According to a report released by UNAMA, the mission documented 1,773 civilian casualties (581 deaths and 1,192 injured), including 582 child casualties (150 deaths and 432 injured) from 1st January to 31st of March.

The report further added “UNAMA is very concerned by the continued targeting of civilians and increase in civilian casualties from the use of non-suicide IEDs by Anti-Government Elements, as well as significant increases in civilian casualties from aerial and search operations, which drove an overall increase in civilian casualties by Pro-Government Forces. Civilian deaths attributed to Pro-Government Forces surpassed those attributed to Anti-Government Elements during the first quarter of 2019.”

“Ground engagements were the leading cause of civilian casualties, causing approximately one third of the total. A single mortar attack incident by Daesh/Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) on 7 March 2019 in Kabul caused approximately one-fifth of all civilian casualties from ground engagements (see below),” the report added.

According to UNAMA, the use of IEDs was the second leading cause of civilian casualties. Contrary to 2017 and 2018 trends, the majority of IED civilian casualties were caused by nonsuicide IEDs rather than suicide IEDs.

UANAMA also added that aerial operations were the leading cause of civilian deaths and the third leading cause of civilian casualties, followed by targeted killings and explosive remnants of war. Civilians living in Kabul, Helmand, Nangarhar, Faryab and Kunduz provinces were most affected (in that order).

The attributed 963 civilian casualties (227 deaths and 736 injured) to anti-government armed elements, 608 civilian casualties (305 deaths and 303 injured) to pro-government forces, 228 civilian casualties (145 deaths and 83 injured) to pro-government forces airstrikes, and 219 civilian casualties (140 deaths and 79 injured) to airstrikes conducted by foreign forces.