Civilian deaths increase in Afghanistan

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The war in Afghanistan has claimed a record number of civilian lives in the first half of the year partly because of an increase in suicide attacks, the United Nations said Monday.

In the first half of the year, 1,662 civilians were killed and more than 3,500 injured with deaths in the capital Kabul accounting for almost 20 percent of the toll, according to the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) report.

In the first two months of the year, 807 troops from the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces were killed with 1,320 injured.

Kabul has accounted for almost 20 per cent all civilian casualties this year. That figure highlight the deteriorating security situation in the country, more 15 years after the US -led invasion that ousted the Taliban. These deaths and injuries represent 67 percent of the total civilian casualties, with 43 percent attributed to the Taliban, 5 percent to Daesh in the Khorasan province, and the rest to unidentified attackers.

At least 40 percent of all civilian casualties were caused by anti-government forces, including the Taliban, and in attacks claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group, the report said.

"The human cost of this bad conflict in Afghanistan - loss of life, destruction and huge suffering - is far too high", Tadamichi Yamamoto, the secretary-general's special representative for Afghanistan, said in a statement Monday.

In May, a truck bomb in the heart of the capital, Kabul, detonated by a suicide attacker, killed at least 92 people and wounded almost 500 in what the United Nations called the "deadliest incident documented" since the global military intervention that toppled the Taliban in 2001.

The U.N. said that 26,500 civilians have been killed in the war and 49,000 others injured since 2009, the year that the mission began tracking the casualties.

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Among those killed was the husband of Naseema, 36, who like many Afghans uses only one name.

Naseema said since her husband Nasir died, the family has had no income and their landlord has threatened to evict them for not paying the rent.

More women and children were also among the dead this year.

A total of 174 women were confirmed killed and 462 injured, an overall rise of 23 percent from the same period past year.

Child casualties, overall also increased by one per cent, with 436 deaths (a nine per cent increase) and 1,141 injuries, it added, highlighting that the use of pressure-plate IEDs and aerial operations in civilian-populated areas led to substantial increases in both women and child casualties.

The report commends Afghan security forces for their continued efforts to reduce civilian casualties. Additionally, the report enumerates they ways ground engagements extend human suffering beyond death and injury such as the displacement of communities, families and individuals; property damage; loss of livelihood; and diminished access to education, medical care and humanitarian aid.

"The decrease is attributed to a reduction in casualties caused by indirect and/or explosive weapons, mostly mortars, used by pro-government forces", UNAMA said.

The Taliban rejected the report in a statement, calling it politically motivated and one-sided.