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UN: Afghan civilian deaths drop for first time in six years

Last modified: 19 Feb 2013 09:02

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, UNAMA, has has recorded a 12 per cent drop in civilian deaths in Afghanistan.

The figures for 2012, released on Tuesday, mark the first drop in civilian deaths in six years. There has been an incremental increase in civilian injuries compared to the previous year.

In 2012, UNAMA recorded 7,559 civilian casualties - 2,754 civilian deaths and 4,805 civilian injuries. Over the past six years, 14,728 Afghan civilians have lost their lives in the conflict.

The drop was attributed to fewer casualties from on-the ground engagement, a decline in suicide attacks and a reduced number of aerial operations.

However, the re-emergence of armed groups in the north and northeast of the country has posed new threats to civilians, the report indicated.

Jans Kubis, UN special representative of the secretary general for Afghanistan, said the decrease was welcome:

Yet, the human cost of the conflict remains unacceptable. Indiscriminate and unlawful use of improvised explosive devices by Anti-Government Elements remains the single biggest killer of civilians. Steep increases in the deliberate targeting of civilians perceived to be supporting the Government demonstrates another grave violation of international humanitarian law. Particularly appalling is the use of suicide attacks including those carried out by brainwashed children to murder civilians which is also a clear breach of the norms of Islam.