Thirty per cent fewer civilians were killed or wounded in Afghanistan’s long-running conflict in the first nine months of this year compared to the same period in 2019, according to a report published on Tuesday.
The report by the United Nation’s Assistance Mission for Afghanistan (UNAMA) said the figures – 2,117 people killed and 3,822 wounded – were nonetheless “inordinate and shocking.”
The start of Afghan peace talks in September did not lead to a decrease in the number of civilian casualties, the report found.
“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.
Based on the report, four out of 10 civilians killed during the period were children.
The report says anti-government elements were responsible for the majority of casualties (58 per cent). Pro-government forces, meanwhile, caused 28 per cent of casualties.
Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) have remained the leading cause of casualties, followed by suicide attacks, airstrikes and ground engagements, the report said.