Child casualties of Afghan war hit highest level since 2009, UN report shows

The number of children killed or wounded in Afghanistan’s conflict surged in the first half of 2016, compared to the same period last year, the United Nations mission in Afghanistan said on Monday. The report shows that one-third of the casualties during the six months to the end of June were children, with 388 killed and 1,121 wounded. That’s 18% more than during the first half of 2015. The report also reveals that the total number of civilian casualties in the first half of 2016 rose by 4%, to 5,166 — 1,601 killed and 3,565 wounded.

The violations laid bare in this report set in motion a cascade of potential human rights abuses that stretch from Afghanistan to the Mediterranean and beyond, as so many Afghans are driven to seek refuge abroad, taking enormous risks.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein

While 2015 saw the highest number of civilian casualties since 2009, when UNAMA started collating civilian casualties, numbers for this half-year were similar to last year. UNAMA documented 5,166 civilian casualties — 1,601 killed and 3,565 wounded — marking a one percent fall in civilian deaths and a six percent rise in the number of wounded civilians. The daunting figures came just days after the deadliest bombing to hit Kabul since the insurgency began in 2001, following the U.S. invasion to topple the Taliban’s brutal regime. On Saturday, at least 80 people were killed and 231 wounded in a suicide attack on a peaceful demonstration of the Afghan minority Shiite Hazara community. Most of those killed were civilians. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility.