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UN: 100,000 civilian casualties in Afghanistan in 10 years

The UN found that it's the sixth year in a row that the number of civilian casualties has exceeded 10,000.

KABUL, Afghanistan — A U.N. report says Afghanistan passed a grim milestone with more than 100,000 civilians killed or hurt in the last 10 years since the international body began documenting casualties in a war that has raged for 18 years.

The new report documents 3,403 civilians killed and 6,989 injured, with the majority of the civilian casualties inflicted by anti-government elements. It is the sixth year in a row that the number of civilian casualties has exceeded 10,000.

The report released by the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan comes as a seven-day "reduction of violence" agreement between the U.S. and the Taliban takes effect ahead of a Feb. 29 signing of a peace deal. Washington hopes this will end its longest war, bring home US troops and start warring Afghans negotiating the future of their country.

“Almost no civilian in Afghanistan has escaped being personally affected in some way by the ongoing violence,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). “It is absolutely imperative for all parties to seize the moment to stop the fighting, as peace is long overdue; civilian lives must be protected and efforts for peace are underway.”

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The report said in addition to continuing record-high levels of harm to civilians, civilian casualty figures for 2019 surpassed a grim milestone. After more than a decade of systematically documenting the impact of the war on civilians, the UN found that in 2019 the number of civilian casualties had surpassed 100,000.

The report calls on all parties to the conflict to conduct prompt, effective and transparent investigations into all allegations of violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law, with a view to ensuring accountability. 

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View the full report here.