Civilian casualties, particularly those of women and children, have hit a new record in Afghanistan.
In the first half of this year; nearly 5,000 people were killed or injured.
Along with the deaths are a shocking number of injuries, and after 14 years of war the rise in child and female casualties is especially sharp.
In part this can be explained by more fighting in residential areas, and more fighting being done by poorly-trained militias.
“The vast majority, or 90% of all civilian casualties, resulted from ground engagements, improvised explosive devices, complex and suicide attacks, and targeted killings,” said the UN’s Afghan Human Rights Unit Director Danielle Bell.
Other factors contributing to the rise in casualties are the withdrawal of coalition air support and equipment, resulting in the use of less accurate munitions, such as mortars.
“Unfortunately the security situation in our country is worse, and many people today are worried about the deterioration in security everywhere,” said one Kabul resident.
“We ask the Taliban to lay down their arms,” said another.
“They should stop fighting, join the government and work for the country’s stability and security.”
That however seems unlikely as the Taliban appears split following the confirmed death of Mullah Omar, who had reportedly been supporting peace talks.
His succession appears unsettled with factional fighting increasing, and civilians caught in the middle.
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