KABUL (Pajhwok): Militant attacks in Afghanistan spiked nearly 37 per cent from January 1 to March 21 this year, compared to the same quarter last year, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction SIGAR said on Thursday.
In a quarterly report to congress, the watchdog
However, the enemy-initiated attacks (EIA) decreased by approximately 10 percent compared to the last quarter (October 1-December 31, 2020).
The SIGAR report said both NATO and the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) recorded strikingly high civilian casualties from January to the end of March.
Civilian casualties rose by 29 percent this quarter compared to the same period last year, according to the UN mission. Civilian casualties remained lower than usual in 2020.
This quarter, the Resolute Support Mission reported 2,038 civilian casualties — 643 deaths and 1,395 injuries.
Ninety-three percent of civilian casualties were attributed to militants )61% to the Taliban, 29% to unknown insurgents, 3% to Islamic State and less than 1% to the Haqqani Network).
— As a whole, total civilian casualties in the fourth quarter increased from the previous quarter for the first time since UNAMA’s systematic documentation began in 2009. UNAMA reported 1,748 civilian casualties this quarter (January 1-March 31), which included 572 deaths and 1,210 injuries.
Afghan forces’ casualties during the first quarter were substantially higher than during the same period last year, but slightly lower than those between October-December 2020, according to US Forces-Afghanistan (USFOR-A).
The number of insider attacks on Afghan security personnel increased by 82% this quarter, compared to the same period last year.
At least 31 insider attacks from January 1to April 1 left 115 Afghan personnel dead and 39 wounded, reported the Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan (CSTC-A)
The Afghan forces conducted 67% more deliberate offensive operations this quarter, according to NATO Special Operations Component Command-Afghanistan (NSOCC-A).
Ninety-one percent of ANDSF operations this quarter were conducted independently of US and Coalition advisor support or accompaniment — well above the percentage of independent operations (53%) for the same period last year.
As of April 2021, there are 16,832 Department of Defense contractor personnel supporting agency operations in Afghanistan. This includes 6,147 U.S. citizens, 6,399 third-country nationals, and 4,286 Afghan nationals.
The report said without continued contractor support, none of the Afghan Air Force’s airframes can be sustained as combat effective for more than a few months.
Pentagon contractors provide maintenance services for Afghan forces’ ground vehicles and train ANDSF technicians under the 2018 National Maintenance Strategy-Ground Vehicle Support (NMS-GVS) contract.
Although the ANDSF dramatically improved its share of work, it is still falling well below benchmarks for its share of the maintenance work orders they — rather than contractors —
are supposed to perform.The number of Afghans requiring humanitarian assistance in 2021 has reached about half of Afghanistan’s total estimated population due to the health and socioeconomic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This figure is nearly double that of 2020, and represents a six-fold increase compared to four years ago, as 16.9 million Afghans are facing “crisis” and “emergency” levels of food insecurity.
This includes 5.5 million people experiencing “emergency” levels – the second highest in the world, according to the UN. Almost half of Afghanistan’s children under five are projected to face acute malnutrition in 2021.