Afghan casualties from air strikes up 39 per cent: UN

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KABUL: The number of Afghans killed or wounded by air strikes rose 39 per cent in the first nine months of 2018, the UN said on Wednesday, as the overall number of civilian casualties remained at “extreme levels”.
Air strikes killed or wounded 649 Afghans, more than any full-year period since the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) began keeping records in 2009, as US and Afghan forces stepped up aerial bombardments.
That figure accounted for eight per cent of overall civilian casualties for the January to September period, which slipped to 8,050 — 2,798 dead and 5,252 injured — UNAMA said.
“Every civilian death leaves a family devastated, grieving and struggling to come to terms with the loss, and each civilian injured or maimed causes untold suffering,” said Danielle Bell, UNAMA’s human rights chief.
International forces accounted for 51 per cent of the civilian casualties caused by air strikes, the report said. Afghan forces made up 38 per cent.
The United States is the only foreign force known to carry out air strikes in Afghanistan.
US and Afghan forces have dramatically increased air offensives against Taliban and Islamic State insurgents in the past year as they try to get the upper hand in the 17-year war.–Agencies

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