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UN: Islamic State-Led Violence Kills 1,000 Civilians in Taliban-Run Afghanistan

ISLAMABAD — The United Nations said Tuesday that bombings and other militant violence in Afghanistan had killed more than 1,000 civilians since the Taliban regained control of the country nearly two years ago.

The U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan recorded 3,774 civilian casualties, including 1,095 deaths, between August 15, 2021, and May of this year. The report said 92 women and 287 children are among the dead.

Most of the deaths, 701, were caused by “indiscriminate” improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, attacks in populated areas, including places of worship, schools, and markets.

UNAMA said that a regional Islamic State affiliate, Islamic State Khorasan, or IS-K, was responsible for most IED attacks, including suicide bombings. It noted a significant increase in the number of attacks by the terrorist group since the Taliban returned to power in Kabul.

“Of particular concern is the apparent increase in the lethality of suicide attacks since August 15, 2021, with fewer incidents causing a higher number of civilian casualties in that period,” the report said.

More than 1,700 Afghan civilian deaths and injuries were attributed to attacks claimed by IS-K.

The chief of UNAMA’s human rights service condemned the attacks on civilians as “reprehensible” and called for ending them immediately.

“It is critical that the de facto authorities uphold their obligation to protect the right to life by carrying out independent, impartial, prompt, thorough, effective, credible, and transparent investigations into IED attacks affecting civilians,” Fiona Frazer said.

UNAMA said Monday that Taliban authorities continue to prevent journalists from covering mass casualty IED attacks, saying it recorded many instances of “arbitrary arrest and detention, ill-treatment, and excessive use of force” deployed against media workers covering such incidents.

The mission said that Taliban authorities do release information on incidents of violence but “casualty figures are often inaccurate and unrealistic.”
The Taliban maintain their counterterrorism operations have significantly degraded the IS-K presence in Afghanistan, killing its key commanders in recent months.

The Taliban waged a deadly insurgency and reclaimed power as the United States and its NATO allies withdrew from Afghanistan in August 2021, ending their two-decade-long occupation.

UNAMA documented more than 3,000 civilian deaths in 2020 and 1,659 fatalities in the first half of 2021 alone, blaming the then-insurgent Taliban and other anti-government armed groups for causing most of those casualties.

Source : VOA