AfghanistanHuman Rights

More children killed in Afghanistan in 2013, UN says

349795_Afghan-childrenThe United Nations says the number of children killed and injured in the US-led war on Afghanistan increased by 34 percent in 2013.

The UN Assistance Mission for Afghanistan (UNAMA) said in its annual report released on Saturday that 2,959 civilians were killed in Afghanistan last year — including 561 children and 235 women.

UNAMA added that more than 5,600 others, including 1,195 children and 511 women, were also wounded in 2013.

“It is the awful reality that most women and children were killed and injured in their daily lives — at home, on their way to school, working in the fields or traveling to a social event,” said Georgette Gagnon, director of human rights for the UN mission.

The report added that overall civilian casualties jumped by 14 percent in 2013 as by comparison, 2,768 civilians were killed and 4,821 others wounded in 2012.

UNAMA blamed the Taliban for nearly 75 percent of the civilian casualties. The group has not commented on the report yet.

Roadside bombs planted by pro-Taliban militants caused most civilian casualties, accounting for 34 percent of deaths and injuries last year, the report added.

The total of 8,615 deaths and injuries in 2013 was the highest number of combined casualties since the UN started documenting the data in 2009.

The United States and its allies invaded Afghanistan in 2001 as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror. The offensive removed the Taliban from power, but insecurity remains in the country.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai said in a recent interview with The Sunday Times that he has seen “no good” with the presence of American forces in his country, adding, “This whole 12 years was one of constant pleading with America to treat the lives of our civilians as lives of people.”

The United States also conducts drone attacks in Afghanistan and claims its attacks are part of the so-called war on terror and target militants, however, reports on the ground show that civilians often fall victim to the airstrikes.

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