MORE than 10,000 civilians were killed or maimed in armed conflict in Afghanistan last year, the United Nations mission to the country reported today.
While the toll was down on the three preceding years, 2017 was still far deadlier than the five years from 2009.
At least 3,438 civilians were killed in fighting involving government, international or insurgent forces and 7,015 were injured.
The UN attributed most of the casualties to anti-government elements, notably the Taliban and the country’s Isis offshoot, which were blamed for 65 per cent of the bloodshed.
There was a “disturbing increase in attacks against places of worship, religious leaders and worshippers,” with 202 civilians killed and 27 injured in 38 attacks.
The UN recorded more women killed in 2017 than in any year since its current records began in 2009.
It was also the worst year since 2009 for civilian deaths caused by air strikes — mostly carried out by Nato countries — with 295 killed and 336 maimed.
The UN noted that Nato forces, mainly those of the United States, had ramped up air strikes and begun particularly targeting narcotics facilities allegedly linked to the Taliban.
Including the latest figures, the UN calculated that at least 28,291 civilians had been killed since 2009, with 52,366 injured.
“The chilling statistics in this report provide credible data about the war’s impact, but the figures alone cannot capture the appalling human suffering inflicted on ordinary people, especially women and children,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the UN special representative for Afghanistan.
• Two children were killed by a land mine explosion in Herat province today, while Taliban attacks killed at least 10 soldiers and police in the north and west.
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