KABUL The number of civilian casualties in Afghanistan in 2017 was 10,453 comprising 3,438 dead and 7,015 wounded 9 percent fewer than in 2016, representing the first decline since 2012, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said on Thursday in its 2017 report.
The document, launched in Kabul, revealed a decline compared to 2016 when 11,434 casualties 3,510 dead, 7,924 injured were recorded.
As compared to 2016, the number of deaths fell by 2 percent and that of the wounded fell by 11 percent.
The decline was attributed to a reduction in ground operations as well as mortar attacks in the most populous areas, according to the UN.
The chilling statistics provide credible data about the wars impact, but the figures alone cannot capture the appalling human suffering inflicted on ordinary people, especially women and children, UNAMA chief Tadamichi Yamamoto said, according to the report.
In 2017, 359 women died in the Afghan conflict and 865 were wounded, a 1 percent rise over the previous year, although the number of children affected fell from 2016 by 10 percent with 861 dead and 2,318 wounded.
UNAMA associated 65 percent of civilian deaths with groups opposed to the Kabul government: 42 percent to the Taliban, 10 percent to the Islamic State terror group and the remaining 13 percent to other insurgents and unknown groups.
Another 20 percent of civilian victims were attributed to Afghan government loyalists 16 percent to the Afghan National Security Forces, 2 percent to international military forces, and 2 percent to pro-Government armed groups.
UNAMA said crossfire between pro- and anti-government forces was responsible for 11 percent, 3 percent were blamed on the explosion of unattributed war remnants and 1 per was put down to shelling from Pakistan.
Despite the general decline in the number of civilian casualties, the UN expressed deep concern over the 17 percent rise in victims of suicide and similar attacks with 2,295 victims (605 dead and 1,690 wounded) as against 1,963 registered in 2016 (398 dead and 1,565 wounded).
Civilian casualties from suicide attacks in 2017 were the highest since UNAMA began compiling this type of data in 2009.
Last year, an attack in Kabul with a truckload of explosives killed 150 civilians in the worst such attack since the US invasion of Afghanistan that toppled the Taliban in 2001.
This year, an attack on the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul and the detonation of an ambulance loaded with explosives left about 120 dead.