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UN mission condemns attacks against Afghanistan civilians

The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) [official website] on Monday condemned [press release] the recent attack on civilians in south-eastern Afghan province of Ghazni that killed 19 individuals. The attack used [AP report] an improvised explosive device (IED) to target a bus, filled with mostly women and children, that was returning from a wedding ceremony. Jan Kubis, head of UNAMA, called for an end to this type of targeted violence against civilians. The UNAMA also noted that this sort of attack can constitute a war crime for the purposes of prosecution. This year alone, IED's have killed 828 civilians and injured 1,627. This recent spike in violence could be attributable to the gradual handover of security from US forces to Afghan officials which will be completed by 2014.

Violence in Afghanistan has increased recently which has given rise to international concern over the situation. Last week a UN report claimed [JURIST report] that US drone strikes have killed more than publicly stated. Earlier this month provincial police in eastern Afghanistan reported [JURIST report] that five civilians were killed in a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) [official website] airstrike near Jalalabad. In September, UN rights chief called on the Afghan [JURIST report] government to strengthen humans rights efforts. In July a UNAMA mid-year report indicated [JURIST report] a 23 percent rise in the number of Afghan civilian casualties over the first six months of 2013 as compared to the same period last year.

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