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

The report discovered a 47% improve within the variety of civilians killed and injured throughout Afghanistan within the first six months of this 12 months, 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 foremost 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,” mentioned Deborah Lyons, the U.N. secretary-general’s particular consultant for Afghanistan, in a statement accompanying the report. 

“The report offers a transparent warning that unprecedented numbers of Afghan civilians will perish and be maimed this 12 months if the rising violence shouldn’t be 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 gorgeous advances on rural provinces within the war-torn nation. 

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

The report additionally mentioned that 32% of the casualties had been kids and 14% had been girls, each document highs.

For the primary time, no casualties had been attributed to worldwide navy motion through 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 had been liable for 64% of civilian casualties, based on the report. This consists of 39% of casualties that had 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 had been liable for 25% of civilian casualties, with 23% attributed to Afghan safety forces and a pair of% attributed to pro-government armed teams, the report mentioned.

The primary explanation for civilian casualties was improvised explosive units 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 approach to finish the violence. 

“Cease the Afghan-against-Afghan combating. Defend the Afghan individuals and provides them hope for a greater future,” she mentioned 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 battle.

The report famous that the U.S. and NATO withdrawal from the nation is greater than 95% full and is about 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 shifting ahead with plans to evacuate Afghans who aided the U.S. and NATO coalition forces through the battle. Hundreds of them are ready for approvals for his or her particular immigrant visa functions and should face retribution from the Taliban for his or her roles within the battle.

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.