[JURIST] The UN [official website] on Wednesday said [press release] that a new report [text, PDF] shows a significant increase in the number of women and children being hurt or killed in Afghanistan’s war against the Taliban and other insurgents. The number of total casualties in the conflict rose by approximately one percent in the first half of this year, but the number of women casualties has risen by 23 percent and the number of child casualties has risen by 13 percent. The director of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) [official website] Danielle Bell stated that she believes the increase in casualties is due to ground fighting, and attributed 70 percent of the deaths to insurgents. Out of the over 4,900 civilian casualties in the first half of 2015, there have been 559 women casualties (164 deaths and 395 injuries) and 1,270 child casualties (320 deaths and 950 injuries).
Human rights groups have criticized Afghanistan’s record in recent years. In June the UN Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan Mark Bowden stated [JURIST report] that the hostilities in Afghanistan are leading to the killing and wounding of thousands and the forced relocation of families into neighboring countries. In April UNAMA and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released a report [JURIST report] urging Afghanistan to strengthen its criminal justice system to protect women from domestic violence. Also in April an Amnesty International report stated [JURIST report] that Afghanistan women’s rights activists are facing increased violence and a lack of governmental support. In March UNAMA released a report [JURIST report] indicating a 22 percent increase in civilian causalities in 2014, making 2014 the deadliest year in Afghanistan since 2009.