Kabul, Feb 15 (IANS) The number of civilian victims in Afghanistan in 2017 was 10,453 — comprising of 3,438 dead and 7,015 wounded — nine per cent lower than in 2016, representing the first decline since 2012, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said on Thursday.
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.
As compared to 2016, the number of deaths fell by two per cent and that of the wounded fell by 11 per cent.
The decline was attributed to a reduction in ground operations as well as mortar attacks in the most populous areas, according to the UN.
“The chilling statistics provide credible data about the war’s impact, but the figures alone cannot capture the appalling human suffering inflicted on ordinary people, especially women and children,” UNAMA chief Tadamichi Yamamoto said.
In 2017, 359 women died in the Afghan conflict and 865 were wounded, a one per cent rise over the previous year, although the number of children affected fell from 2016 by 10 per cent with 861 dead and 2,318 wounded.
The UNAMA associated 65 per cent of civilian deaths with groups opposed to the Kabul government: 42 per cent to the Taliban, 10 per cent to the Islamic State terror group and the remaining 13 per cent to other insurgents and unknown groups.
Another 20 per cent of civilian victims were attributed to Afghan government loyalists.
Despite the general decline in the number of civilian casualties, the UN 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.