“The most important finding in the report is that 11,002 Afghan civilians have died or injured in 2015, this figure surpasses by 4 percent the same figure for 2014,” UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan Nicholas Haysom told a joint press briefing.
“We call on those inflicting this pain on the people of Afghanistan to take concrete action to protect civilians and put a stop on the killing and maiming of civilians in 2016,” Haysom, also head of United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) noted.
The increased ground fighting in and around populated areas along suicide blasts and other attacks in major cities were the main causes of conflict-related civilian deaths and injuries in 2015, said the report titled “2015 Annual Report on Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict”.
“UNAMA documented 11,002 civilian casualties (3,545 deaths and 7,457 injured) in 2015, exceeding the previous record levels of civilian casualties that occurred in 2014 … (the)UNAMA began its systematic documentation of civilian casualties in 2009,” according to the report.
The report has highlighted a 37 percent increase in women casualties and a 14 percent increase in child casualties last year in compare with 2014.
“The report addresses special attention to the human rights and protection issues concerning the most venerable women and children, of the 11,002 civilian casualties one in 10 was a woman and one in four was a child,” UNAMA Director of Human Rights Danielle Bell said at the same briefing.
The annual report, produced by the UNAMA in coordination with the UN Human Rights Office, has blamed anti-government elements for most of the casualties on the non-combatants.
It has attributed 62 percent of the casualties to the Taliban and other insurgent groups, while 17 percent were attributed to security forces (14 percent from Afghan security forces, 2 percent from foreign forces, and 1 percent from pro-government armed groups).
Some 17 percent of civilian casualties were unattributed while the rest 4 percent of casualties were caused by explosive remnants of war, according to the report.
The report also urged the warring sides to spare no efforts to stop harming civilians in the Central Asian country.
Among other recommendation, the report has called on Taliban and other armed groups to cease deliberate targeting of civilians, stop use of improvised bombs and suicide attacks in areas frequented by civilians and cease firing mortars and rockets on civilian populated areas.
It also called on government of Afghanistan to cease use of mortars, rockets and airstrikes in civilian-populated areas and investigate all allegations of violations of international humanitarian and human rights law.
Among, other demands the report also recommended the NATO and U.S.-led forces to support the Afghan government to develop and implement a national policy on civilian casualty mitigation in the conduct of hostilities.
More than 21,320 civilians were killed and over 37,400 others wounded from Jan. 1, 2009 to Dec. 31, 2015, according to the report. Enditem