Association for Defending Victims of Terrorism – Monitoring by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, UNAMA, and the UN Human Rights Office has revealed that despite a drop in civilians killed and injured overall in 2020 there was a rise in civilian casualties following the start of peace negotiations in September.
The Afghanistan Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict Annual Report 2020 documents the appalling level of harm inflicted on civilians and traces the disturbing spike in violence against them in the last quarter of the year.
“Afghanistan remains among the deadliest places in the world to be a civilian. I am particularly appalled by the high numbers of human rights defenders, journalists, and media workers killed since peace negotiations began in September,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet.
“This report shows the acute, lasting needs of victims of the armed conflict and demonstrates how much remains to be done to meet those needs in a meaningful way. The violence that has brought so much pain and suffering to the Afghan population for decades must stop and steps towards reaching a lasting peace must continue,” she added.
The overall number of civilian casualties in 2020 – some 8,820 (3,035 killed and 5,785 injured) – fell below 10,000 for the first time since 2013 and was 15 per cent down on figures for 2019. However, the number killed stayed above 3,000 for the seventh consecutive year.