16 February, 2018
The U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces formally concluded their combat mission at the end of 2014 and shifted to a training role, but a resurgent Taliban stepped up their attacks and an affiliate of the Islamic State group has also emerged.
The U.N. Mission has been documenting civilian casualties in Afghanistan since 2009 and has so far confirmed a massive total of 28,428 in the bloody Afghan conflict.
"The key finding in the report is that more than 10,000 civilians died and injured as a result of conflicts in 2017, the majority of civilians killed are the effect of attacks by anti government elements, and it includes not only the Taliban but also the Daesh or Islamic State (IS)", UNAMA chief and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Afghanistan Tadamichi Yamamoto told reporters here. "While emphasizing that no civilian casualties are acceptable, the reduced harm ratio suggests improvements", it said.
The UNAMA also noted that the number of airstrikes carried out by worldwide military forces and the Afghan air force grew significantly in 2017 which had an impact on the number of casualties.
Casualties caused by anti-government forces accounted for "65 percent of [total] civilian casualties, with combined IED tactics, mainly suicide and complex attacks, being the leading cause".
A spate of bombings last month in Kabul fueled anger against the Taliban across the country, and prompted the Trump administration to close the doors for peace talks with the Islamic insurgents.
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"I am particularly appalled by the continued indiscriminate and unlawful use of (improvised explosive devices) such as suicide bombs and pressure-plate devices in civilian populated areas", he said.
The capital remained a top target, with 16 percent of all casualties during the year - a total of 1,831 people killed and wounded - occurring in Kabul alone.
While the Taliban continue to seize more territory from the government, civilian deaths can also be attributed to poorly trained military staff and rampant corruption.
The letter has mentioned that the continuance of war and remaining of USA forces in Afghanistan is not in favor of anyone and that this "threatens the stability of the world". "While the number of civilian deaths reduced by two per cent from 2016 and the number of civilians injured decreased by 11 per cent, the overall continuation of high numbers of civilian casualties underscores the enormous human cost of the ongoing armed conflict". "The Taliban had been making last efforts for their presence in Helmand and some security forces suffered casualties due to recent fighting", he added.
According to Airwars, a watchdog group, in Afghanistan, the number of civilian casualties nearly doubled in 2017 compared with the year before. "The Afghan government can only negotiate to end the war if the Taliban are ready".
Last year, Trump announced "new rules of engagement" for United States troops in Afghanistan.