There were 1,282 civilians deaths in Afghanistan from January to June, with another 2,176 people wounded in the same period, according to a report by the UN mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) published on Monday.
Those numbers include 340 children killed and another 727 wounded.
‘At a time when the government of Afghanistan and the Taliban have a historic opportunity to come together at the negotiating table for peace talks, the tragic reality is that the fighting continues inflicting terrible harm to civilians every day,’ said Deborah Lyons, the secretary general's special representative for Afghanistan.’
The report identified anti-government forces like the Taliban and Islamic State as the main cause of the casualties, accounting for 58 per cent of the victims. Pro-government forces were responsible for 23 per cent of civilians killed or wounded.
However, the numbers do represent a 13-per-cent decline on the numbers of deaths and injuries reported during the same time period in 2019. The report cites less fighting by international armed forced and Islamic State as the main contributor to the decline.
But, the number of casualties caused by Afghan government security forces and the Taliban remained almost unchanged, according to the report. Civilian casualties from Afghan army airstrikes tripled compared to the first half of 2019.
The report came as efforts to achieve a peace in Afghanistan remain in limbo because of disagreements about a prisoner release programme that must be agreed between Kabul and the Taliban.
The US signed an agreement with the Taliban in Doha in February, providing for the withdrawal of international troops and an exchange of prisoners. It is intended to pave the way for internal Afghan peace talks.
The US State Department said its envoy for Afghan reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, had set off to visit Doha and Kabul where he will press parties for a ‘final prisoners exchange and reduced violence,’ according to a statement on Saturday.
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