Save the Children expresses alarm as new UN civilian casualty data reveals 340 children were killed as a result of conflict in Afghanistan in the first half of 2020.
During this time, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan documented almost 1,300 civilian deaths, of which almost a third were children.
Following the release of the UN’s Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict Midyear Report on Afghanistan yesterday, Milan Dinic, Country Director for Save the Children in Afghanistan, said:
“Afghanistan’s conflict Is taking a terrible toll on the country’s children, at least 340 of whom lost their lives since January. More than 700 were wounded, many with life-changing injuries like amputations or head trauma, not to mention the invisible yet equally damaging post-traumatic stress many children are suffering from.
“The vast majority of civilian casualties in Afghanistan were caused by indirect fire or improvised explosives in populated areas. This is extremely concerning and is an indictment of all parties who have so far failed to abide by international humanitarian law to protect civilians from harm.
“These past few months have been some of the deadliest in recent times, with a spike in the number of attacks that have killed or injured civilians.
“At a time when Afghanistan should be focusing on the COVID-19 outbreak and its devastating effects on the economy and the livelihoods of millions, the extreme violence is causing untold distress and preventing children from accessing education, healthcare and other vital services.
“Attacks on civilians—especially children—can never be tolerated. Not only do they kill and injure innocent people, they also impact the longer-term physical, emotional and mental development of children. Save the Children condemns all attacks on civilians and we call upon all parties in Afghanistan to do everything in their power to protect children.”
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NOTES TO EDITORS:
- From 1 January to 30 June, UNAMA documented 3,458 civilian casualties (1,282 killed and 2,176 injured).
- Ground engagements remained the leading cause of civilian casualties, representing 35 percent of the overall total (1,195 civilian casualties: 336 killed, 859 injured).
- Civilians living in Balkh and Kabul provinces were the most affected by conflict (344 and 338 civilian casualties respectively).
- The conflict in Afghanistan remains one of the most dangerous for children, who comprise 31 percent of the overall civilian casualty total.