KABUL documented a near record level of casualties in the war-torn country during the first quarter of this year — 763 deaths and 1,495 injured, a statement said Thursday.
The UNAMA report said the first-quarter casualties were comparable to those of 2016 and 2017, which were 2,268 and 2,255, respectively.
The mission said suicide attacks and improvised explosive devices, as well as complex attacks, were the leading cause of civilian casualties so far this year. Ground engagements ranked as the second-leading cause, followed by targeted and deliberate killings.
The mission said anti-government elements, such as the Taliban and Islamic State, caused 1,500 civilian casualties — 511 deaths and 989 injured — six percent up from the same period last year.
The number of civilian casualties caused by pro-government forces, however, dropped by 13 percent compared to 2017. UNAMA said pro-government forces, which include the US military, were responsible for 176 deaths and 231 injured civilians.
“All parties to the conflict in Afghanistan must do everything in their power to protect civilians from harm,” said Ingrid Hayden, a top UN official in Afghanistan.
“Afghan civilians continue to suffer, caught in the conflict, in ways that are preventable; this must stop now.”
The UN mission renewed its call upon all parties to the conflict to increase efforts to protect civilians.