Kabul, April 27 (IANS) More than 500 civilians were killed in Afghanistan in the first three months of the year, according to a UN report released on Monday.
Between January 1 and March 31, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) documented a total of 1,293 civilian casualties - 533 killed and 760 injured - in the country, reports Efe nnews.
Children accounted for 417 casualties - 152 killed and 265 injured - while 60 women lost their lives and 108 were injured during this period.
Anti-government forces were responsible for 55 per cent or 710 civilian casualties - 282 killed and 428 injured - of which 39 per cent were attributed to the Taliban, 13 per cent to the Islamic State and the remainder to other militant groups.
Pro-government forces were responsible for 32 per cent or 412 civilian casualties - 198 killed and 214 injured - mainly through airstrikes and indirect fire during ground engagements.
UNAMA attributed 21 per cent of civilian casualties to the actions of the Afghan national security forces, 8 per cent to the international troops and the remainder to other pro-government armed groups.
Overall, the figures represent a 29 per cent decrease in civilian casualties compared to the same period last year, during which UNAMA recorded a total 1,822 casualties, including 604 deaths and 1,218 injured, and the lowest figure for the first quarter of a year since 2012.
However, the UN body expressed concern about a resurgence of violence in March, when the Afghan government and the insurgents were expected to hold peace talks, following a reduction in violence towards the end of February that paved the way for a US-Taliban peace agreement.
The peace deal, signed in Doha on February 29, included a prisoner swap agreement between the Taliban and the Afghan forces, which would serve as a precursor to the commencement of intra-Afghan talks to usher in peace in the country after nearly 20 years.
However, the process was affected by a disagreement between the insurgents and the government, leading to the Taliban negotiating team pulling out of the prisoner exchange talks earlier this month.
Although both sides have unilaterally released some prisoners in an attempt to adhere to the Doha agreement, violence has continued unabated in the country, resulting in civilian casualties.
The UN body said the latest report reflected that the conflict in Afghanistan continues to be one of the deadliest in the world for civilians, especially at a time when the "potential impact of COVID-19 poses a threat to all individuals in Afghanistan".
Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by Outlook staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds. Source: IANS