M - The Taliban said on Wednesday, in a rare statement to the American people, they wanted to end Afghanistan's 17-year war through talks, while warning the message should not be seen as a sign of weakness and the fight against US forces would go on, Reuters reported.
Danielle Bell, director of human rights of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, speaking Thursday described the nine percent reduction in civilian casualties past year as an "important step" towards minimizing harm to non-combatant Afghans.
Aerial operations accounted for 6 percent of all civilian casualties in Afghanistan past year, the report said.
Pro-government forces caused a fifth of civilian casualties with 16 percent attributed to Afghan forces, 2 per cent to worldwide forces and 1 percent each to pro-government armed groups and undetermined pro-government forces, the United Nations said.
Total child casualties stood at 3,179 (861 killed and 2,318 injured) - an overall 10 percent decrease compared with 2016.
Casualties from suicide and complex attacks rose by 17 per cent countrywide compared to 2016, marking the highest number since the United Nations began documentation in 2009.
"I am particularly appalled by the continued indiscriminate and unlawful use of (improvised explosive devices) such as suicide bombs and pressure-plate devices in civilian populated areas", he said.
According to the report, the suicide attacks had attributed to 40 percent of the civilians casualties in 2017.
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The casualties by pro-government forces were mainly caused by the increase in aerial bombings by Afghan and foreign forces, the UNAMA said.
Two-thirds of all casualties a year ago were inflicted by anti-government forces, with the Taliban responsible for 42 percent, Islamic State 10 percent and 13 percent caused by undetermined anti-government elements.
The letter has mentioned that the continuance of war and remaining of U.S. forces in Afghanistan is not in favor of anyone and that this "threatens the stability of the world".
The UNAMA associated 65 per cent of civilian deaths with groups opposed to the Kabul government: 42 per cent to the Taliban, 10 per cent to the Islamic State and the remaining 13 per cent to other insurgents and unknown groups.
Women and children were heavily affected by the violence with 359 women killed last year, an increase of 5 percent over the previous year - and 865 injured.
"We are concerned that we will see greater harm this year unless necessary steps are taken by all parties to prevent civilian casualties", cautioned Tadamichi.
While ground clashes were the second leading cause of civilian casualties, that toll was 19 percent lower than a record level seen in 2016.
"Each of these figures represents a hope crushed for a better future", he added.