Over 3400 civilians killed in 2017 in Afghanistan

UN: Afghan civilian casualties decreased 9 percent in 2017

Over 3,400 civilians were killed and about 7,000 others were injured in Afghanistan in 2017, which is a decrease of 9 percent compared to the previous year, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said in a press release on Thursday.

Over two thirds of those killed and wounded were attributed to anti-government fighters belonging to groups such as the Taliban and the Islamic State militant group (ISIS).

"While we did see an improvement on the battlefield by Taliban and pro-government forces, more still needs to be done".

The Taliban caused 42 percent of the total casualties, ISIS 10 percent and other anti-government factions who were unidentified 13 percent.

This year, a wave of attacks by armed groups have killed almost 150 people in recent weeks.

Suicide and complex attacks - when assailants combine two or more modes of attack on one target at the same time - caused 22 per cent of all civilian casualties in Afghanistan in 2017, with 16 per cent of all civilian casualties occurring from such attacks in the capital of Kabul.

Another 20 per cent of civilian victims were attributed to Afghan government loyalists. No group claimed responsibility but the Taliban were suspected.

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However pro-government forces, including global troops, were responsible for 20 percent of the civilian casualties - a seven percent increase from 2016.

Insurgents account for 65 per cent of the overall casualty figures, with 42 per cent attributed to Taliban militants and ten per cent to Daesh, the United Nations report says. Less than five percent were caused by Afghan forces.

But the total number of civilian casualties in Afghanistan last year decreased by nearly a tenth, or nine percent, compared to the year before.

A total of 3,438 people were killed while 7,015 others were injured, indicating an overall reduction of 9 per cent compared to 2016, the United Nations said, adding that it doesn't have a complete overview over the situation in some parts of the country due to Taliban control.

While ground clashes were the second leading cause of civilian casualties, that toll was 19 percent lower than a record level seen in 2016. That figure included 3,510 deaths and 7,924 injuries.

The figures come as militants ramp up their assaults on urban areas following US President Donald Trump's announcement last August that the American presence in Afghanistan will remain open-ended, with Washington upping attacks on insurgents and deploying more troops and aircraft.

Last August, Trump announced a new strategy of expansion in the country, putting more American boots on the ground, increasing the number of USA military personnel to 14,000 in the process, and giving greater autonomy for his commanders to call in strikes against radical Islamists.


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