ENDING VIOLENCE NEEDED TO PREVENT THOUSANDS OF AFGHAN CIVILIANS FROM KILLING AND INJURY IN 2021 – UN REPORT
KABUL – The extraordinary levels of damage inflicted on civilians in the Afghan conflict continue unabated, with UNAMA finding that the number of civilians killed and injured in the first three months of 2021 was significantly higher than a year ago.
Released today, the Afghanistan Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict First Quarter Report 2021 documents 1,783 civilian casualties (573 killed and 1,210 injured), an increase of 29% compared to the same period in 2020.
Of particular concern are the 37% increase in the number of women killed and injured and a 23% increase in the number of child victims compared to the first quarter of 2020.
“The number of Afghan civilians killed and maimed, especially women and children, is deeply disturbing. I implore the parties to urgently find a way to end this violence, ”said Deborah Lyons, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan.
The start of peace negotiations in Afghanistan in September 2020 raised hopes for an improvement in the situation for civilians. However, in the six months between October 2020 and March 2021, UNAMA recorded a 38% increase in the number of civilian casualties compared to the same period a year earlier. It should be noted that in February 2020, Afghan government forces and the Taliban agreed to a week of violence reduction, which immediately and significantly reduced the scale of damage to Afghan civilians, demonstrating that the political engagement can save Afghan lives. Unfortunately, no further reduction in violence has been agreed since the start of the peace negotiations in Afghanistan.
“Every possible opportunity for peace must be seized. If violence levels are not immediately reduced, thousands of Afghan civilians will continue to be killed and injured by other Afghans in 2021, ”said Lyons, who is also the head of UNAMA.
The overall increase in civilian casualties in the first quarter of 2021 is mainly due to the same trends that caused the increase at the end of last year: ground engagements; Improvised explosive devices; and targeted assassinations.
Anti-government elements continued to be responsible for the majority (61%) of all civilian casualties in the first three months of 2021, while pro-government forces continued to cause around a quarter (27%) of the total civilian casualties.
In the first three months of 2021, UNAMA documented an increase in the number of civilian casualties compared to the first quarter of 2020, attributed to both the Afghan National Army and the Taliban, with the Taliban responsible for 43.5 % of all civilian casualties. , and the Afghan National Army responsible for 17 percent.
Read the report here: