Record number of civilians killed in Afghanistan this year, UN reports

Record civilian casualties in 2021, UN reports
Fighting has escalated in recent months as foreign forces have withdrawn. Source: Getty Images
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Daily US Times: A report from the United Nations (UN) says civilians in Afghanistan were injured or killed at record levels in the first half of this year as violence escalated.

The report says the war-torn country recorded more than 1,600 civilian deaths so far this year. That is a 47% rise compared with this time last year.

And the number of deaths could rise still further, the UN warns.

Government forces have been fighting Taliban militants, who now control large parts of the Asian country.

Most US and other international soldiers have withdrawn after a mission lasting nearly 20 years.

Casualties in May and June rose to their highest in the country for this period since the United Nations began recording the numbers in 2009.

Anti-government forces were responsible for 64% of casualties of civilians, according to the UN report. Pro-government forces accounted for 25%, and 11% are blamed on crossfire, while of all casualties, 32% were children.

Peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban are moving slowly. The UN special envoy for Afghanistan, Deborah Lyons, urged both sides to “take heed of the conflict’s grim and chilling trajectory”.

She said in the UN press release: “The report provides a clear warning that unprecedented numbers of Afghan civilians will perish and be maimed this year if the increasing violence is not stemmed.”

A US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 ousted the Taliban from power in the aftermath of 9/11.

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