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Afghan And US Forces Killed More Civilians Than Taliban Did: UN

More civilians in Afghanistan have been killed by the country’s own forces and the United States (US) than by the Taliban, a new document issued by the United Nations (UN) reveals.

In the first three months of 2019, the pro-government forces were involved in 54% civilian deaths, UN’s quarterly report revealed. UN’s special representative for Afghanistan Tadamichi Yamamoto said that the latest revelations were ‘shocking’.

The UN has been documenting the Afghan conflict since 2009. Overall, the global body said, insurgents were involved in 53% civilian deaths since 2009. The report further says that between January and March, insurgent groups killed 227 civilians and injured 736 others.

In contrast, Afghan and international forces caused 305 deaths and 303 injuries, which is 39% more than the number of civilian deaths in the same period last year.

According to UN, ground fighting and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were the major cause of civilian deaths. Moreover, 145 civilians, majority of them women and children, were killed in airstrikes by Afghan and US forces.

Overall, the UN reported a 23% decrease in casualties compared with the same period in 2018. The agency said it was ‘unclear’ whether this was influenced by the peace talks or mutual effort by the two parties to minimize civilian deaths in the conflict.

Last week, the much-awaited Afghan talks with the Taliban that were to have been hosted by the Qatari capital on April 20 were cancelled.

The two-day meeting was called off at the last minute after insurgent officials objected to the unusually large size of the 250-member Afghan delegation.

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