Afghanistan, more women and children killed during fighting

Children leaning against the wall of a shelter Children leaning against the wall of a shelter Credit to ArmyAmber on Pixabay

27 July 2021 

The United Nations says more women and children were killed or wounded in Afghanistan

As reported by Voanews, in the context of the conflict in Afghanistan a higher number of women and children have been killed or wounded in the first half of 2021 than in the first six months of any year since 2009. 

The US-NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan is more than 95 per cent complete and is due to finish by 31 August. Meanwhile, the conflict in the country escalated, reporting an acute rise in the number of civilian casualties in the period from May. According to the UN Afghanistan Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict office, which produces reports every six months, there were 1,659 civilians killed and 3,254 wounded: that was a 47 percent increase compared with the same period last year.

Even though men still make up most of the civilian casualties, the rise among women and children is sharp. According to UN data, 32 percent of the casualties in the first half of this year were children, with 468 killed and 1,214 wounded. According to data from the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), 14 percent of civilian casualties were women, with 219 killed and 508 wounded. Particularly, children were deliberately targeted on at least one occasion. The most shocking incident was on 8 May attack outside the Sayed ul-Shuhuda school in Kabul: the UN reported that it resulted in more than 300 civilian casualties, mostly schoolgirls, including 85 killed, for which no group has claimed responsibility. Moreover, women and children continue to suffer disproportionately from the use of indirect weapons, such as artillery and mortars, in populated areas: according to UN Afghanistan Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict office, they constitute nearly two-thirds of civilian casualties from indirect fire during ground engagements, mainly from the munition impacting them while they took shelter in their homes.

Deborah Lyons, the U.N. secretary-general's special representative for Afghanistan, asked the Taliban and Afghan leaders to pay closer attention to the current trend of the war and its terrible effects on civilians. UNAMA warned that without a significant de-escalation in violence, Afghanistan will likely witness the highest ever number of documented civilian casualties in a single year since it began keeping records in 2009.




Author Jasmina Saric; Editor Gianpaolo Mascaro

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