Earlier this week, a United Nation report revealed that more women and children have been killed in the war-torn nation in the first half of 2021 than the whole of any other year since the global governance organization began systematically tracking these casualties.
CBN News reports that the country saw a 47% increase in the number of civilian casualties in the first six months of 2021 as compared to the year prior, with 1,659 killed and 3,254 wounded.
Close to half of these casualties were women and children, that is, 46%, according to the report. 468 children, 36% of the casualties, were killed, with 1,214 wounded. 14% were women, with 219 killed and 508 wounded.
The casualties recorded in May alone nearly surpassed those recorded from the previous four months, the highest ever for this month since the U.N. began keeping track.
The report warns that if the violence does not subside in 2021, the nation is set to have the highest number of documented civilian deaths ever recorded in a single year by the U.N.
The organization’s officials are calling on local leaders to address this crisis as peace talks are still underway.
“I implore the Taliban and Afghan leaders to take heed of the conflict’s grim and chilling trajectory and its devastating impact on civilians,” Deborah Lyons, the U.N. secretary-general’s special representative for Afghanistan, said in a statement following the release of the report.
“The report provides a clear warning that unprecedented numbers of Afghan civilians will perish and be maimed this year if the increasing violence is not stemmed,” she added.
As the U.S. began to withdraw its troops from the nation in May, the Taliban has re-gained territory and now threatens to seize the capitals of several provinces.
The pull-out of U.S. and NATO troops is set to be finished by the end of next month and is already 95% complete.
The report says that anti-government forces were behind 64% of civilian casualties. 39% were blamed on the Taliban, almost 9% on the Islamic State, while 16% were undetermined. 23%, meanwhile, were blamed on Afghan security forces while armed pro-government groups were blamed for 2% of the deaths.
While the Taliban has said they do not want to monopolize power, they are demanding that a new government be installed and the current President Ashraf Ghani is removed from office.
Lyons also called on the Taliban and Afghanistan’s leaders to “Stop the Afghan against Afghan fighting. Protect the Afghan people and give them hope for a better future.”
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