Written by Andrea Martin. Media by Garrett Streeter.
Afghanistan Civilian Casualties Hit Record-High
Civilian casualties within Afghanistan topped over 10,000 since record keeping started in 2009.
The United Nations recently released a report documenting the casualties, citing that 10,548 civilians were killed in 2014 alone. A 25% rise in deaths occurred in 2014 compared to the year before.
According to the U.N., the Taliban and other insurgents were responsible for 72% of the civilian deaths while other governmental forces and foreign troops were responsible for 14%.
In December the U.S. and its allies formally pulled out of the country, handing over security issues to Afghan forces. Over $65 billion was spent by the U.S. to train and equip Afghan soldiers, although this has also been cited as a primary reason for an increase of civilian casualties. With a lack of presence of ground troops, the warfare on the ground gradually escalated; the usage of grenades, mortars and rockets had been used sporadically in heavily populated areas.
Probably one of the most damaging subjects within the report dealt with the death toll of women and children. Out of the 611 women that were injured, 298 were killed, a 21% increase. 714 children were killed out of 1,760 injured, the U.N. reported.
The overwhelming casualties ultimately began to affect hospitals within the country as well. Many hospitals already lack the necessary faculty to treat and assist those within security forces, but some have also seen arrivals of those from neighboring provinces. Eventually, some victims could not be treated or were turned away.
The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan has called for the government of Afghanistan to cease firing grenades or rockets into civilian areas and to enforce stricter protection to secure peace among its civilians. In order to ensure such peace, the UNAMA has also issued that the government be able to recognize accountability for human rights abuses.