In the first six months of this year, 5,166 civilians were either killed or maimed in Afghanistan, a half-year record since counting began in 2009, a United Nations report published Monday shows.
Between January and June this year, the human rights team of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) documented 1,601 civilian deaths and 3,565 injured civilians.
This is an increase of four per cent in the total number of casualties compared to the first six months of 2015, according to the report, titled ‘Afghanistan Midyear Report 2016; Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict.’
The total civilian casualty figure recorded by the UN since 1 January 2009 through 30 June 2016 has risen to 63,934, including 22,941 deaths and 40,993 injured.
“The testimony of victims and their families brings into agonizing focus the tragedy of each one of the 63,934 people killed or maimed by this protracted conflict since 2009,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein in a press release.
This year’s casualties include 1,509 children, 388 dead and 1,121 injured, a figure Mr. Zeid described as “alarming and shameful,” particularly as it represents the highest numbers of children killed or wounded in a six-month period since counting began in 2009.
There were also 507 women casualties, 130 killed and 377 injured.
The figures are said to be conservative – almost certainly underestimated – given the strict methodology employed in their documentation and in determining the civilian status of those affected.