KABUL (AP) — Afghan and NATO forces killed more civilians than the insurgents in the first half of 2019, the United Nations said in a report Tuesday. Most civilian deaths apparently occurred in Afghan and NATO operations against extremists, such as airstrikes and night searches in radical hideouts. Insurgents often shelter among the civilian population.
In the first six months of the year, 403 civilians were killed in Afghan force operations and another 314 killed by international forces, for a total of 717 people, the UN said in a report released Tuesday. HELP US Click the Google News star and follow usThe Taliban, the extremist group’s subsidiary Islamic State and other insurgent groups caused 531 deaths in the same period. According to the UN report, 300 of those killed by the insurgents were the direct target of an attack. In the first half of the year, the Taliban carried out attacks almost daily, mainly on security forces. The Taliban have rejected calls for a ceasefire while holding talks with the United States seeking to end an 18-year war. For its part, the IS subsidiary launched attacks on both the security forces and the Shia minority. Neither the Kabul government nor the coalition of international forces commented on the UN report immediately. The United States formally completed its combat mission in Afghanistan in 2014, but continues to provide extensive air cover and other support to local forces fighting the two extremist groups.» The warparties can give different explanations for the recent trend, each designed to justify their own military tactics,» said Richard Bennett, human rights manager at the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, who published the report. The situation of foot-to-foot Afghans would improve «not only by respecting international humanitarian law but also by reducing the intensity of fighting,» he added. The report further noted that the number of civilians killed and injured fell by 25% from January to June 2019 compared to the same period of the previous year, when the death toll reached an all-time high. Deaths attributed to the insurgents fell by 43%. One in three deaths occurred in land confrontation and one fifth were caused by walking bombs. Air operations caused about 14% of deaths. Moreover, no group claimed responsibility for a Sunday night bombing and appeared to be the Afghan president’s fellow ballot and former head of the intelligence service. The wannabe vice-president, Amrullah Saleh, was evacuated unscathed from the site of the attack, which caused at least 20 deaths and about 50 injuries. Saleh is known for his strong stance against the Taliban.