The UN reports that Afghan civilian casualties are on the rise as international forces are phase out their military presence. This year, the war has caused 1,319 civilian deaths with 2,533 injured, which is a 23% increase in civilian violence compared to last year. Women and children have been affected disproportionately, with 38% more casualties this year.
The primary cause of civilian casualties continues to be IEDs, which have indiscriminately killed more children than any other demographic – 53% more than last year. Insurgents were responsible for 74% of all casualties this year, who are targeting civilians believed to be working in alignment with the government, and 12% of the casualties were incurred in fighting on the ground with 207 civilians counted dead in crossfire.
Foreign troops are scheduled to leave Afghanistan next year, leaving the Afghan army to assume control of the countries security. In places where international troops have withdrawn, insurgent attacks are on the rise. The reported increase in civilian casualties is being weighed by decision makers, who must consider how the Afghan troops can assume control of continuing the fight against extremists while protecting innocents from unnecessary violence.
– Jennifer Bills