Civilian casualties in Afghanistan increased by 29 percent in the first three months of 2021, as compared to the same period last year, the United Nations said in a report released Wednesday.
A total of 1,783 civilian casualties including 573 deaths and 1,210 injured were recorded between January and March, the report said.
Anti-Government Elements were responsible for 61 percent of all civilian casualties, while Pro-Government Forces caused approximately 27 percent of the total.
Taliban were responsible for 43.5 percent of all civilian casualties, and the Afghan National Army were responsible for 17 percent.
According to the report, there was the 37 percent increase in the number of women killed and injured, and a 23 percent increase in child casualties compared with the first quarter of 2020.
“The number of Afghan civilians killed and maimed, especially women and children, is deeply disturbing. I implore the parties to urgently find a way to stop this violence,” said UN envoy Deborah Lyons.
The report said that in the six months between October 2020, after intra-Afghan peace talks began, and March 2021, UNAMA recorded a 38 percent increase in civilian casualties compared with the same period one year earlier.
“Every possible opportunity for peace must be seized. If levels of violence are not immediately reduced, thousands of Afghan civilians will continue to be killed and injured by fellow Afghans in 2021,” said Lyons.