The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) was investigating civilian casualties during military operations in three eastern provinces this month that left 24 civilians dead and injured, the mission said on Friday.
The preliminary findings from UNAMA indicated that 24 civilians were killed and injured in three separate operations against Taliban militants by Afghan security forces backed by NATO-led coalition troops on March 8 and 9.
It occurred in Maidan Wardak, Nangarhar and Paktika provinces, according to a UNAMA statement on its website.
“UNAMA will continue its independent fact-finding and share the findings with the concerned parties.
“Initial findings indicate that the majority of the victims were women and children.
“UNAMA notes with particular concern the high number of deaths in these three incidents,’’ the statement said.
In one incident, 13 women and children were killed and injured following an airstrike in Hisarak district of Nangarhar, according to the statement.
On Wednesday, Afghan President, Mohammad Ghani, instructed top Afghan military officials to take initiative in the battlefield and prevent civilian casualties during military operations.
“UNAMA takes note of the recent decision by the Afghan government to address reports of civilian casualties apparently caused by pro-government forces.
“This includes the instruction of the president for a review of mechanisms and procedures used in military operations with a view to preventing civilian casualties.’’
The Afghan civilians continue to bear the brunt of armed conflicts as more than 3,800 civilians were killed and over 7,180 others injured in conflict-related incidents in 2018, according to figures released by UNAMA.
The mission has attributed 63 per cent of the civilian casualties to the Taliban and other militant groups, 24 per cent to security forces over the period.
Also, 10 per cent was attributed to both sides during clashes and the rest three per cent were caused by other reasons.
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