Militants step up attacks 'deliberately targeting' Afghan civilians: UN



A sandal is seen laying on the ground along a road at the site of a suicide bombing in Kabul on March 21 amid Nawruz celebrations. The attack claimed by ISIS killed at least 26 people, many of them teenagers, in front of Kabul University, officials said. [Shah Marai/AFP]

KABUL -- Ordinary Afghans are increasingly in the crosshairs of militants, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said Thursday (April 12).

The total number of civilian casualties between January-March 2018 reached 2,258, with 763 deaths and 1,495 injured -- almost unchanged from the same period in the past two years, according to UNAMA.

Militant groups were responsible -- through their attacks or fighting with security forces -- for most of those casualties, causing 1,500 deaths or injuries. That represents 67% of the total and 6% more than last year.

Suicide blasts and militant attacks were the leading cause of civilian casualties at 751, more than double from the same period last year, the report showed. If the trend were to continue for the rest of the year, the figure could top last year's record-setting 2,295 casualties in suicide bombings and attacks.


Mourners offer funeral prayers for Mufti Ahmad Farzan, a member of Afghanistan's High Peace Council, who died during a Taliban attack at Kabul's Intercontinental Hotel on January 22. Insurgents armed with Kalashnikovs and suicide vests attacked the landmark hotel late January 20 in an assault that lasted more than 12 hours, deliberately targeting civilians. [Javed Tanveer/AFP]

Notably, the number of civilian casualties caused by attacks carried out by the Taliban, the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) and other militants "deliberately targeting" ordinary Afghans more than doubled as compared to the first quarter of 2017 -- accounting for 39% of all casualties and 59% of casualties attributed to militants, according to the report.

Anti-government elements also continued to direct attacks against Afghanistan's minority Shia community, with 154 members killed or wounded, "nearly all from suicide and complex attacks" claimed by ISIS, the report said.

Militants set sights on Kabul's civilians

Kabul was a major target in the first quarter of 2018.

Militants stormed Kabul's Intercontinental Hotel and bombed a crowded street near Jamhuriat Hospital with an ambulance packed with explosives in January, killing more than 100 people.

In March, an ISIS suicide bomber blew up revellers at a Nawruz celebration in the capital.

The latest figures come as US and Afghan forces intensify ground and air offensives ahead of the traditional spring fighting season, which some expect to be particularly bloody this year.

As the Taliban faces growing pressure to take up President Ashraf Ghani's offer of peace talks, the UN called on "all parties" to do more to protect civilians.

"Afghan civilians continue to suffer, caught in the conflict, in ways that are preventable; this must stop now," said Ingrid Hayden, the UN secretary-general's deputy special representative for Afghanistan.

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Yes, I like this article, but you may better not give much promotion to the issue of Hazaras. These Hazaras, with instruction and funding of Iran, participated in aliens' fighting in Syria and they brought aliens' fighting home. The Afghan government may better arrest and give life sentence to Hazaras and their leader Mohammad Muhaqiq who joined aliens' war to keep interests of Iran, and they supported the cruel Bashar Assad's regime. I am not saying that ISIS is good, there are no big dogs and pigs than ISIS is, but Hazaras are also not good people.