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UN reports rise in Afghan war deaths, blames insurgents


Published: Mon, July 17, 2017 @ 9:35 a.m.

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghanistan’s protracted war killed a record number of civilians during the first six months of this year, according to a U.N. report released Monday, which blamed the majority of the deaths on bombings by insurgents.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said the “horrifying” figure of 1,662 people killed between January and June of this year “can never fully convey the sheer human suffering of the people of Afghanistan.”

“Each one of these casualty figures reflects a broken family, unimaginable trauma and suffering and the brutal violation of people’s human rights,” he added.

The report confirmed that a massive truck bomb in the center of Kabul on May 31, which killed at least 90 people, was the deadliest attack since the U.S.-led invasion that toppled the Taliban in 2001. It also noted that more women and children were among the dead this year.

Insurgent attacks killed 1,141 civilians, a 12 per cent increase over the same period last year, according to the report, which said such attacks wounded another 2,348 people.

The report commended Afghanistan’s security forces, saying fewer civilians were caught in the crossfire compared to last year. It said 434 civilians were killed during military operations against insurgents.

Gen. Dowlat Waziri, a Defense Ministry spokesman, blamed the high toll on the insurgents’ use of human shields. “The army is being very careful during operations to prevent civilian deaths,” Waziri told The Associated Press.


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