CIVILIAN CASUALTIES in Afghanistan have hit a new high, including a ten-fold increase in casualties from attacks linked to Islamic State (IS) militants.
In its annual report, the UN said 3,498 civilians were killed and 7,920 wounded in 2016, a 3% rise on 2015.
The number of children killed or injured jumped by a quarter to its highest level to date.
Ground fighting between militants and troops in civilian areas was the main cause of civilian casualties, it said.
Overall, the report attributed almost two thirds of civilian casualties to what it called anti-government elements, mainly the Taliban, and a quarter to pro-government forces.
UN Special Representative for Afghanistan Tadamichi Yamamoto described the civilian deaths as “deeply harrowing and largely preventable”.
“The escalation in ground fighting and overall insecurity, compounded by a lack of respect for human rights and international humanitarian law by parties to the conflict, particularly anti-government elements, led to an overall deterioration in civilian protection,” the report said.
The UN began documenting civilian casualties in Afghanistan in 2009. BBC