Afghanistan casualty numbers hit new high in 2015

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Nicholas Haysom, the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Afghanistan and head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).Photo: Fardin Waezi/UNAMA

Casualty numbers from continuing conflict in Afghanistan are the highest yet recorded, the UN mission based in the war-torn country has announced.

According to the 2015 Annual Report on Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict, the reasons for the higher toll include more ground fighting in and around populated areas, along with suicide and other attacks in major cities.

Daniel Johnson has more.

Announcing yet another rise in the number of civilians hurt or killed, Nicholas Haysom, the head of UNAMA, the UN mission in Afghanistan, said that the harm done "was totally unacceptable".

His comments come after the joint UNAMA/Human Rights Office report documented more than 11,000 civilian casualties – including more than 3,500 deaths – in 2015.

That exceeds the previous record levels in 2014 and indicates a significant four per cent increase last year.

Ground-based combat is blamed for causing the highest number of casualties – up 15 per cent on 2014 – followed by improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and attacks on complexes or by suicide bombers.

Anti-government forces are credited with doing the most harm, to more than 60 per cent of civilians, while Afghan security forces and other pro-government groups caused 17 per cent of casualties.

Worryingly, the UN mission in Afghanistan report also showed a 37 per cent increase in women casualties, while children represented one in four victims.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva.

Duration: 1'07"

 

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