Civilian deaths in war-torn Afghanistan hit record high: UN


KABUL: The number of Afghan civilians killed in the country’s long-running conflict hit a record high in the first six months of 2018, UN figures showed Sunday, with militant attacks and suicide bombs the leading causes of death.

The ceasefire for the first three days of Eid was marked by scenes of jubilation as security forces and Taliban fighters celebrated the Islamic holiday, raising hopes that peace was possible after nearly 17 years of conflict.

But the suspension of hostilities was marred by two suicide attacks in the eastern province of Nangarhar that killed dozens of people and were claimed by the Islamic State group, which was not part of the ceasefire.

The Taliban refused a government request to extend the truce, returning to the battlefield and ignoring calls to enter talks with Kabul to end the war.

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The Taliban refused a government request to extend the truce, returning to the battlefield and ignoring calls to enter talks with Kabul to end the war.

“The brief ceasefire demonstrated that the fighting can be stopped and that Afghan civilians no longer need to bear the brunt of the war,” Tadamichi Yamamoto, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, said.

If that trend continues, the figure will top the 2017 full-year record of nearly 2,300 casualties.

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While the Taliban is Afghanistan’s largest militant group and holds or contests more territory than any other, Islamic State has repeatedly demonstrated its ability to carry out devastating attacks in urban areas.

The latest report comes almost a year after US President Donald Trump announced his new South Asia strategy that involved ramping up American airstrikes against militants.

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    Original news : https://tribune.com.pk/story/1758712/3-civilian-deaths-war-torn-afghanistan-hit-record-high-un/