According to a United Nations report released on 27 April 2020, over 500 civilians, including more than 150 children, were killed due to the fighting in Afghanistan during the first quarter of 2020.
Anti-Government Elements (AGEs) were responsible for 55 percent and Pro-Government Forces (PGFs) were responsible for 32 percent of all civilian casualties in the 3 months of 2020, the report indicates.
It highlights the urgent need for all parties to the conflict to do more to protect civilians from harm, especially in view of the looming threat posed to all Afghans by COVID-19.
As per the report, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) documented a total of 1,293 civilian casualties (533 killed and 760 injured) in Afghanistan during the first three months of the year.
It has noted concerns particularly in March, which was hoped that the Government of Afghanistan and the Taliban would commence peace negotiations and prioritize efforts to protect all Afghans from the impact of COVID-19, saw most of the violence, the reported indicates.
The report quotes Deborah Lyons, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and head of UNAMA, “I call on all parties to seize the opportunity offered by the Secretary-General’s call for a global ceasefire to focus collective efforts on fighting a common enemy, the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“To safeguard the lives of countless civilians in Afghanistan and to give the nation hope of a better future, it is imperative that violence is stopped with the establishment of a ceasefire and for peace negotiations to commence,” he said.
The report said, “Anti-Government Elements (AGEs) continued to be responsible for the majority of civilian casualties – 55 percent – during the first quarter, causing 710 civilian casualties (282 killed and 428 injured). UNAMA attributed 39 percent to the Taliban, 13 percent to Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant–Khorasan Province (ISIL-KP) and the remainder to undetermined AGEs. The number of civilian deaths attributed to AGEs – particularly the Taliban – increased by 22 percent in the first quarter of 2020 as compared to the same period in 2019, mainly due to an increase in targeted killings and summary executions.”
“Pro-Government Forces (PGFs) were responsible for 32 percent of all civilian casualties during the first quarter of 2020, causing 412 civilian casualties (198 killed and 214 injured). Of concern, PGFs were responsible for more child casualties than AGEs during the first three months of the year and over twice as many child deaths, mainly due to airstrikes and indirect fire during ground engagements,” the report explained.
UNAMA attributed 21 percent of overall civilian casualties to Afghan national security forces, eight percent to international military forces, and the remainder to pro-government armed groups and undetermined PGFs.
The UN, through the report, reiterates its support for the Afghan people and calls for urgent action to save civilian lives.
Source: UN Report
BRIEF HISTORY: SINCE 2002, PRESS RESTRICTIONS WERE GRADUALLY RELAXED AND PRIVATE MEDIA DIVERSIFIED. FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND THE PRESS IS PROMOTED IN 2004.
SINCE THEN MORE THAN 30 AFGHANISTAN BASED TELEVISION CHANNELS BOTH TERRESTRIAL AND SATELLITE AND AROUND 100 RADIO FM STATIONS STARTED OPERATION IN THE COUNTRY.
FOREIGN RADIO STATIONS, SUCH AS VOICE OF AMERICA AND BBC WORLD SERVICE, ALSO BROADCAST INTO THE COUNTRY.