The number of Afghan civilians killed and wounded passed 11,000 in 2015 – the highest number recorded since the US-led invasion more than 14 years ago.
In its annual report released on Sunday, the United Nations said there were 3,545 civilian fatalities and 7,457 people wounded, with children paying a particularly heavy toll. These casualties occurred as Afghan security forces faced a surge in attacks by the Taliban and other armed groups.
The total of 11,002 civilian casualties marked a four percent rise over 2014, the previous record high, the report said.
One-in-four casualties was a child, while one-in-10 was female, it said, with the UN’s special representative for Afghanistan, Nicholas Haysom, calling the figures “unacceptable”.
“We call on those inflicting this pain on the people of Afghanistan to take concrete action to protect civilians and put a stop to the killing and maiming of civilians in 2016,” said Haysom.
“Unprecedented numbers of children were needlessly killed and injured last year,” said Danielle Bell, the UN’s director of human rights in Afghanistan. “Other children suffered the loss of parents … one in 10 casualties was a women.”
The report said residents in northern and southern Afghanistan were particularly vulnerable, as the Taliban and other armed groups intensified assaults on government installations and foreign forces.
In a statement on Sunday, the Afghan Taliban rejected the UN report, calling it “one-sided” and “biased”.
“We reject the one-sided UN report,” the Taliban statement said. “We interpret this report to be biased, and a propaganda which was demonstrated by the invaders.”
Violence has increased since the withdrawal of US and NATO forces over the past few years, and an estimated 59,000 civilian casualties have been recorded since the United Nations began tracking the total in 2009.
- Pray for Afghanistan, for peace in the streets and homes of this troubles nation.
- Pray for the Afghan security forces and government, to have wisdom in knowing how to counter the anti-government fighters seeking to gain control.
- Pray for those wounded in the violence, and for those grieving the loss of family. Pray especially for the children affected by the fighting, many who have lost their parents or families..
- Pray for healing for the Afghan people, for renewed hope for the future and for a move of the Holy Spirit across this nation, to turn many hearts to Christ and the life that He alone can bring.
Psalm 67 vs 1 – 2: “May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, that your way may be known upon earth, your saving power among all nations.“