'A record number of Afghan civilians, mostly women children, were killed in 2018, a new UN report said, pinning the sharp increase on US airstrike rules of engagement, relaxed after almost two decades of futile war.
Despite promises from the White House to reduce the number of troops currently stationed in Afghanistan, the 18-years-long American campaign is far from finished and is claiming a record number of civilian lives, a new United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) report reveals. In fact, the battle against the Taliban and the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIL) forces in the country is witnessing a news resurgence on a scale not seen in the last decade.
At least 3,804 civilians died last year in Afghanistan, while another 7,189 were wounded, UNAMA said in its annual report, stressing that 2018 became the deadliest on record ever since the organization began tallying figures, in 2009. While stressing that 63 percent of all civilian casualties were caused by Islamist militants, the annual review also noted a steady increase in civilian casualties, caused by the “relaxation of the rules of engagement for airstrikes” by the US-led forces in 2017.
After documenting an 85 percent spike in child casualties from aerial operations in 2017, the UN report stressed that US-led airstrikes have caused the same number of civilian casualties as those inflicted by government forces on the ground. UNAMA recorded a 61 percent rise in civilian casualties, and documented 1,015 civilian deaths and 479 injuries from 173 aerial operations conducted by the so-called 'pro-government forces' last year.'
Read more: UN report slams US-led airstrikes & record civilian casualties in Afghanistan
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