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Monday Jul 26 2021
By
Reuters

Afghanistan civilian casualties hit record levels in May-June, says UN

By
Reuters
Afghanistan civilian casualties hit record levels in May-June, says UN

  • UN's Assistance Mission to Afghanistan says it had documented 5,183 civilian casualties between Jan till June.
  • The number was up 47% from the same period last year.
  • Figures underscore dire situation for Afghan civilians as intense fighting picked up in May and June.


KABUL: At least 2,400 Afghan civilians were killed or injured in May and June of this year ever since the fighting between Taliban and Afghan security forces escalated, United Nations said on Monday.

The UN's Assistance Mission to Afghanistan (UNAMA) said in a report it had documented 5,183 civilian casualties between January and June, of which 1,659 were deaths. The number was up 47% from the same period last year.

The figures underscored the dire situation for Afghan civilians as intense fighting picked up in May and June after US President Joe Biden announced American troops would withdraw by September, bringing an end to 20 years of foreign military presence in the country.

"Of serious concern is the acute rise in the number of civilians killed and injured in the period from May 1, with almost as many civilian casualties in the May-June period as recorded in the entire preceding four months," UNAMA said in a statement.

Heavy clashes around the country have taken place in the past two months as the Taliban launches major offensives, taking rural districts, border crossings and surrounding provincial capitals, prompting Afghan and US forces to carry out air strikes to try and push back the group.

Negotiators have been meeting in Qatar's capital of Doha in recent weeks but diplomats have cautioned there has been little substantive progress since peace talks began in September.

"I implore the Taliban and Afghan leaders to take heed of the conflict's grim and chilling trajectory and its devastating impact on civilians," said Deborah Lyons, the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Afghanistan. 

"Unprecedented numbers of Afghan civilians will perish and be maimed this year if the increasing violence is not stemmed."