Civilian casualties in Afghanistan hit document highs amid U.S. withdrawal, UN report says


Civilian casualties in Afghanistan reached document degree highs within the first half of 2021, as U.S. and coalition forces started withdrawing from the war-torn nation, based on a United Nations report released on Monday.

A serious spike in casualties began in Might, when the withdrawal started in earnest and the Islamist Taliban made advances to grab extra territory, the report stated.

The report discovered a 47% enhance within the variety of civilians killed and injured throughout Afghanistan within the first six months of this yr, in comparison with the identical interval in 2020.

There have been 2,392 civilian casualties recorded in Might and June, virtually as excessive because the mixed complete of two,791 from the 4 earlier months. The most important bounce in casualties was across the similar time worldwide troops started to depart the nation and the Taliban stepped up their navy operations. 

“I implore the Taliban and Afghan leaders to take heed of the battle’s grim and chilling trajectory and its devastating influence on civilians,” stated Deborah Lyons, the U.N. secretary-general’s particular consultant for Afghanistan, in a statement accompanying the report. 

“The report supplies a transparent warning that unprecedented numbers of Afghan civilians will perish and be maimed this yr if the rising violence is just not stemmed,” Lyons added. 

Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid rejected the findings of the report in a statement on Monday, calling them “biased and unfaithful.” The Afghan Safety and Protection Forces additionally rejected the report in a press convention on Monday, according to CNN. 

The report comes because the Biden administration nears the tip of its withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan, and because the Taliban makes beautiful advances on rural provinces within the war-torn nation. 

Whereas many of the report’s recorded casualties occurred outdoors of cities in Afghanistan, the variety of lifeless and wounded is prone to climb because the Taliban’s assaults transfer into city areas, based on the report. 

The report additionally stated that 32% of the casualties have been youngsters and 14% have been ladies, each document highs.

For the primary time, no casualties have been attributed to worldwide navy motion throughout the first half of 2021, based on the report. As a substitute, the violence has “taken on a distinctly Afghan combating Afghan character.”

Anti-government forces have been answerable for 64% of civilian casualties, based on the report. This contains 39% of casualties that have been attributed to the Taliban, 9% attributed to the Islamic State and 16% attributed to undetermined, non-state actors.  

In the meantime, pro-government forces have been answerable for 25% of civilian casualties, with 23% attributed to Afghan safety forces and a pair of% attributed to pro-government armed teams, the report stated.

The primary reason behind civilian casualties was improvised explosive gadgets by opposition forces, adopted by floor engagements between events, focused killings by non-state teams and airstrikes by the Afghan Air Pressure, based on the report.

Lyons urged Taliban and Afghan leaders to discover a option to finish the violence. 

“Cease the Afghan-against-Afghan combating. Defend the Afghan folks and provides them hope for a greater future,” she stated within the assertion. 

In April, Biden announced a full withdrawal of roughly 3,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, successfully ending America’s longest conflict.

The report famous that the U.S. and NATO withdrawal from the nation is greater than 95% full and is ready to complete by August 31. 

Till the withdrawal is completed, the U.S. continues to help Afghan forces with fight plane. On Thursday, the U.S. launched overnight airstrikes against Taliban targets. 

The Biden administration can be transferring ahead with plans to evacuate Afghans who aided the U.S. and NATO coalition forces throughout the conflict. 1000’s of them are ready for approvals for his or her particular immigrant visa functions and will face retribution from the Taliban for his or her roles within the conflict.

The U.S. is working with allies to secure several overseas locations for approximately 4,000 Afghan nationals and their families to relocate whereas their functions are processed.

CNBC’s Amanda Macias contributed to this text.