By MUJIB MASHAL and TAIMOOR SHAH
© 2017 New York Times News Service
KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghanistan has grown more deadly this year for women, children and other residents of the capital, the United Nations mission in the country said Monday, even as the violence is expected to intensify in the coming months with no hope of peace talks any time soonA record number of civilians — 1,662 — were killed in the first six months of 2017, a 2 percent increase from the same period last year, the mission reported. An additional 3,581 civilians were wounded.
“The human cost of this ugly war in Afghanistan — loss of life, destruction and immense suffering — is far too high,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the U.N. secretary-general’s special representative for Afghanistan. He cited the threat posed by homemade bombs or improvised explosive devices, IEDs, used by insurgent groups. “The continued use of indiscriminate, disproportionate and illegal IED devices by anti-government elements is particularly appalling and must immediately stop,” he said.
There was a 23 percent rise in the number of women killed. The leading causes of casualties among women were attacks, including suicide bombings, in highly populated civilian areas like Kabul, the capital. These assaults accounted for almost three-quarters of the 174 women killed and 462 injured in the first half of the year.
As more women have joined the workforce in Afghanistan, they have become more vulnerable to insurgents targeting government workers during rush hours in crowded parts of the capital, the U.N. report said. Another reason for the increase in women killed or injured in attacks has been the growing intensity of urban assaults.
Children were again killed in large numbers. They made up more than a quarter of the total casualties, and child deaths were up 9 percent compared with the same period last year.
The report blamed anti-government forces for 67 percent of the civilian casualties, holding the Taliban responsible for 43 percent, the Islamic State group for 5 percent and unidentified groups for 19 percent. But Afghans also suffer at the hands of government and allied forces, sometimes as they come across their unexploded ordnance.