KABUL: A record 4,313 civilians were injured or killed in Afghanistan`s war against the Islamist Taliban between July and September, the United Nations (UN) said on Thursday.
The tally was up 42 per cent from the same period last year - in a war that ebbs and flows with the seasonal weather - and included more than a thousand deaths, according to data from the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).
That made it the bloodiest period in the world`s longest-running war since UNAMA began collecting like-for-like figures in 2009. It brought the total of casualties for the first nine months of 2019 to over 8,000.
“Civilian casualties at record-high levels clearly show the need for all parties concerned to pay much more attention to protecting the civilian population, including through a review of conduct during combat operations,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, one of the U.N.`s top officials in Afghanistan.
Taliban insurgents fighting the U.S.-backed Kabul government control more of Afghanistan than at any time since being ousted from power nearly two decades ago. They have stepped up a campaign of suicide bombings in recent years as Washington tries to pull its forces out.
Around 62 per cent of casualties were caused by what UNAMA called "anti-government elements", though casualties caused by pro-government forces also rose 26 per cent. UNAMA said on Tuesday that 85 civilians had been killed and more than 370 wounded in violence linked to last month`s election. The two presidential front-runners have both already claimed victory despite the count being delayed.