New York (UNA-OIC) – More women and children were killed and wounded in Afghanistan in the first half of 2021 than in the first six months of any year since records began in 2009, a United Nations report revealed on Monday.
A particularly sharp rise in casualties occurred in May when international military forces began withdrawing from the country and fighting intensified following the Taliban offensive to take territory from Government forces.
The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) reported in its Afghanistan Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict midyear update, that there were 1,659 civilians killed and 3,254 wounded; a 47 percent increase compared with the same period last year.
UNAMA said it was particularly concerned about the acute rise in the number of civilian casualties in the period from 1 May, with almost as many recorded in the May-June period as in the entire preceding four months.
Women and children made up close to half of all these civilian casualties at 46 percent, according to the report. 32 percent were children, with 468 killed and 1,214 wounded. Fourteen percent of civilian casualties were women, with 219 killed and 508 wounded.
“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.
“The report provides a clear warning that unprecedented numbers of Afghan civilians will perish and be maimed this year if the increasing violence is not stemmed,” Ms. Lyons added in a statement accompanying the report.