U.S.-led allied and Afghan forces killed more civilians than Taliban, have killed more civilians than the Taliban and other militants in the first three months of this year
In a report, the international body said pro-government forces were responsible for 54% of civilian deaths during the first three months of 2019.
The report said that 1,773 civilians were killed or wounded overall in the three months — a significant drop from the same period last year, when 2,305 civilians were killed or wounded in the conflict. Last year, suicide bombings by the insurgents were blamed for the high number of casualties.
Between Jan. 1 and March 31, the report said 581 civilians were killed and 1,192 were wounded. While insurgents caused a significant majority of the injuries, it was pro-government forces, including NATO, that killed the majority of civilians. They were responsible for 305 civilian deaths, nearly half of them in airstrikes. The remainder of the death toll was incurred in the cross-fire, such as during searches for militants, according to the report.
At the same time, insurgent attacks left 736 civilians wounded, compared to government and international forces, which wounded 303 civilians, the report said.
Most of the civilian deaths were the result of aerial attacks, most often carried out by international forces. Though the report does not mention any NATO country specifically, U.S. forces carry out airstrikes when called to assist Afghan forces.
It also follows a trend reported in last year’s U.N. annual report on civilian casualties, which showed a dramatic hike in civilian deaths by pro-government forces, including more than 1,000 civilian casualties from airstrikes, the highest since the U.N. began keeping track 10 years ago.
Air strikes also killed 145 civilians during the period, half of them women and children. The UN attributed almost all of these to American forces.
Around 14,000 American troops are helping to train Afghan security forces.
The Taliban, however, currently control and influence more territory than they have at any point in the past 18 years.