Record number of Afghan civilian casualties due to attacks in 2017

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UN Special Representative for Afghanistan, Tadamichi Yamamoto, says, "When we document these appalling civilian casualty figures, it hurts, because it counters the best interests of this country and undermines efforts serving the people of Afghanistan".

More than 10,000 Afghan civilians were killed or wounded in violence previous year, the United Nations said on Thursday, with militant bombings the main cause while air strikes by USA and government forces inflicted a rising toll.

The U.N. Mission has been documenting civilian casualties in Afghanistan since 2009 and has so far confirmed a massive total of 28,428 in the bloody Afghan conflict. As a result, casualties from suicide bombings and attacks jumped by 17 percent.

The use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) - suicide and non-suicide - by armed groups led to the majority of the casualties past year, with ground engagements accounting for the second-highest number of victims.

Both the Taliban and ISIS have continued to launch attacks on civilians and Afghan security forces or symbols of the government in Kabul.

It attributed about two-thirds of civilian casualties to antigovernment elements such as the Taliban and the Islamic State extremist group, while pro-government forces caused one-fifth of all casualties.

"Pro-government forces, which include Afghan National Security Forces, global military forces and pro-government armed groups were responsible for 20 percent of civilian casualties", Bell said.

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"Afghan civilians have been killed going about their daily lives - travelling on a bus, praying in a mosque, simply walking past a building that was targeted", Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, was quoted as saying in the report.

The deadliest attack since the United Nations mission began recording civilian casualties in 2009 was in Kabul on May 31 when a suicide attacker detonated a truck bomb, killing 92 civilians and injuring 491.

It attributes 16 per cent to Afghan forces and 2 per cent to global forces, with the rest remaining unclear. They claimed both attacks.

UNAMA reported a five percent rise in female deaths at 359, with 865 injured.

The 2017 report, launched in Kabul, revealed a decline compared to 2016 when 11,434 casualties - 3,510 dead, 7,924 injured - were recorded, Efe news agency reported.

Total child casualties stood at 3,179 (861 killed and 2,318 injured) - an overall 10 percent decrease compared with 2016.

The UNAMA also noted that the number of airstrikes carried out by global military forces and the Afghan air force grew significantly in 2017 which had an impact on the number of casualties.