Afghan women and children casualties rise in 2013Listen /
2013 was the worst year in Afghanistan since 2009 in terms of the number of women and children killed or injured as a result of continued instability in the country.
That's according to the UN Assistance Mission to Afghanistan's (UNAMA) annual report on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict.
The report found that civilian casualties in the country rose by 14 per cent last year. The figure marks a 7 per cent increase in deaths and a 17 per cent increase in injuries compared to 2012.
Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) caused the most harm, according to UNAMA Human Rights Director, Georgette Gagnon.
"Regarding women and children, the report documented that there was the most civilian deaths and injuries this year for women and children since 2009. Women casualties rose by 36 per cent compared to last year, and children's casualties rose by 34 per cent. Women and children were by and large killed by IEDs, Improvised Explosive Devices. The second leading cause of injuries and deaths to women and children were these ground engagements." (39″)
IEDs placed on roads, parks, in bicycles and suicide attacks that use these devices together caused one half of all the civilian casualties in 2013, Ms. Gagnon noted.
Targeted killings of civilian government employees, religious leaders, Mullahs, people supporting the peace process or others who express support for the government also caused quite a number of deaths across the country, she added.
Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.