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UN slams record number of civilian casualties

UN Report Slams US Airstrikes After Record Civilian Casualties

KABUL – A record number of Afghan civilians, mostly women children, were killed in 2018, a new UN report said, pinning the sharp increase on US airstrike rules of engagement, relaxed after almost two decades of futile war.
Despite promises from the US to reduce the number of troops currently stationed in Afghanistan, the 18-years-long American campaign is far from finished and is claiming a record number of civilian casualties, a new United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) report said.
It also revealed that the battle against the Taliban and the Daesh forces in the country is witnessing a news resurgence on a scale not seen in the last decade.
At least 3,804 civilians lost their lives during 2018 in Afghanistan, while another 7,189 sustained injuries, UNAMA said in its annual report, stressing that 2018 became the deadliest on record ever since the organization began tallying figures, in 2009.
While stressing that 63 percent of all civilian casualties were caused by anti-government militants, the annual review also noted a steady increase in civilian casualties, caused by the “relaxation of the rules of engagement for aerial operations” by the coalition forces in 2017.
After documenting an 85 percent spike in child casualties from air strikes in 2017, the UN report indicates that US-led airstrikes have caused the same number of civilian casualties as those inflicted by government forces on the ground.
UNAMA recorded a 61 percent rise in civilian casualties, and documented 1,015 civilian deaths and 479 injuries from 173 air strikes conducted by the so-called ‘pro-government forces’ last year.
The coalition forces, whose own tally places civilian casualties at only 62 people, defended the use of its air strikes, stressing that it is taking “all feasible precautions” to limit the loss of civilian lives.
(Sahar News)

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