"The figures alone can not capture the appalling human suffering inflicted on ordinary people, especially women and children", said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the United Nations envoy for Afghanistan.
Raging violence in Afghanistan killed and wounded over 10,000 people past year, with a awful rise in the number of women and child casualties, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the UN Human Rights Office stated on Thursday. The remaining third were killed either during military action between the Afghan army and militants or in air strikes by the USA and worldwide allies.
Danielle Bell, director of human rights of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, speaking Thursday described the nine percent reduction in civilian casualties previous year as an "important step" towards minimizing harm to non-combatant Afghans.
Despite the general decline in the number of civilian casualties, the United Nations expressed deep concern over the 17 per cent rise in victims of suicide and similar attacks with 2,295 victims as against 1,963 registered in 2016. "I am particularly appalled by the continued indiscriminate and unlawful use of IEDs such as suicide bombs and pressure-plate devices in civilian populated areas".
Islamic State militants are responsible for a large number of these attacks, especially on Shia mosques.
Unattributed cross-fire during ground engagements between anti-government elements and pro-government forces caused 11 percent of the civilian casualties.
"UNAMA documented 631 civilian casualties (295 deaths and 336 injured) from aerial operations conducted by pro-government forces, a seven per cent increase from 2016, and the highest number from airstrikes in a single year since 2009", the press release said.
Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, called for the "perpetrators to be held accountable".
Last month, about 100 people were killed in a suicide bombing in Kabul.
"Such attacks are prohibited under worldwide humanitarian law and are likely, in most cases, to constitute war crimes".
But she raised concerns about increasing numbers of casualties in aerial operations conducted by Afghan and worldwide forces. No group claimed responsibility but the Taliban were suspected.
M - The Taliban said on Wednesday, in a rare statement to the American people, they wanted to end Afghanistan's 17-year war through talks, while warning the message should not be seen as a sign of weakness and the fight against USA forces would go on, Reuters reported. UNAMA documented that, in 2017, 359 women were killed - a rise of five per cent - and 865 injured.
The number of child casualties - 861 killed and 2,318 wounded - was 10 percent lower than 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.