The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) expressed its continuing “deep concerns” about the high number of civilian casualties in the country, in a statement released on Thursday.
“The disregard for civilian life exhibited by parties to the conflict in recent days, especially in indiscriminate attacks, is appalling,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, adding that “Civilians in Afghanistan must be protected.”
On September 17 the Taliban claimed responsibility for a suicide attack in northern Parwan at the site of an election rally in which 30 civilians were killed and 51 were injured, the statement said.
Also mentioned was a Taliban-claimed blast on September 19 in Zabul that killed at least 25 civilians and injured 93, when a “disproportionate and indiscriminate truck bomb caused extensive damage to a nearby hospital with terrible harm to health workers and patients inside.”
US and Afghan forces have also initiated recent attacks that resulted in high numbers of civilians killed and injured, including a US airstrike targeting Daesh fighters in the Wazir Tangi area of Nangarhar on September 19, and a joint air and ground assault targeting Al-Qaida in Helmand on September 22.
“In Nangarhar, UNAMA’s preliminary findings indicate that the airstrikes killed at least 16 civilians and injured 12 others. In Helmand, United States and Afghan forces conducted a ground operation, supported by US airstrikes, with preliminary findings indicating that at least 20 civilians were killed and injured, mainly women and children,” the statement read.
The report called for accountability: “Those responsible for any civilian casualties must ensure independent, impartial, transparent and effective investigations into the incidents.”
And renewed talks: “Dialogue leading to peace is the only viable way forward for Afghanistan.”