The number of civilian casualties of the war in Afghanistan reached a record high for the seventh year in a row in 2015 as violence increased amid the withdrawal of the vast majority of international troops.
According to a United Nations report released on Sunday, at least 3,545 noncombatants died while another 7,457 were injured in fighting last year, marking a four-percent increase since 2014. The figures are the highest since the United Nations began keeping track in 2009. The (very thin) silver lining of the report is that there were four percent fewer deaths while the number of civilian injuries rose nine percent.
Women and children were particularly hard-hit by war-related violence last year. The report notes a 37 percent increase in the number of women casualties and 14 percent in child casualties.
“The people of Afghanistan continue to suffer brutal and unprincipled attacks that are forbidden under international law,” said the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. “This is happening with almost complete impunity.”
The increase in civilian casualties was largely attributed to two factors. First, the heavy fighting in the northern city of Kunduz, which was taken over by the Taliban in September and later retaken by government forces. And second, a wave of suicide bombs in Kabul, the capital.