Afghanistan civilian deaths up 16%: UN

A new UN report says civilian deaths in Afghanistan jumped 16 percent in the first eight months of 2013.

UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan Human Rights Director Georgette Gagnon told journalists in Afghanistanâ„¢s eastern city of Jalalabad on Wednesday, Å“Anti-government groups – which continue to deliberately target civilians – have caused the vast majority of civilian deaths and injuries.”

He added that figures show Å“stark” increase in violence against civilians in the war-torn country.

Gagnon said that the eastern provinces of Kunar, Laghman, Nangarhar and Nuristan witnessed a 54 percent hike in civilian casualties in the first eight months of 2013 compared with last year.

The report says civilians have increasingly been caught in the crossfire between Afghan security forces and the Taliban militants.

Å“In the eastern region of Afghanistan, most civilians are wounded or killed during firefights and other ground engagements, rather than by improvised explosive devices or in targeted attacks,” the UN report states.

The previous UN report said that some 1,300 Afghan civilians were killed and more than 2,500 wounded in the first half of 2013. Most of the fatalities occurred during militant attacks.

The United States and its allies invaded Afghanistan as part of Washingtonâ„¢s so-called war on terror in 2001. The offensive removed the Taliban from power, but the country is still gripped by insecurity.

DB/HSN

Copyright: Press TV