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Afghanistan slipping away from USA forces, indicates UNAMA Report 2017

At least 25 terrorists belonging to the Islamic States (IS) group were killed in the airstrikes carried out by the United States in Afghanistan's northern Jawzjan province bordering Turkmenistan, on February 7. It may be mentioned that United Nations started documenting the casualties in Afghanistan in 2009 and it had no data of human causalities from 2001 to 2009.

"The chilling statistics in this report provide credible data about the war's impact, but the figures alone can not capture the appalling human suffering inflicted on ordinary people, especially women and children", Tadamichi Yamamoto, U.N. Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan, said in the report.

UNAMA also documented an increase in attacks against places of worship, religious leaders and worshippers, recording 499 civilian casualties with 202 deaths and 297 injured, during 38 such attacks in 2017.

The casualties by pro-government forces were mainly caused by an increase in aerial bombings by Afghan and foreign forces, the UNAMA said.

According to the report, the suicide attacks had attributed to 40 percent of the civilians casualties in 2017.

The highest number of "civilian casualties from suicide and complex attacks in a single year in Afghanistan" was recorded in 2017, with 605 people killed and 1,690 wounded from such incidents, according to the report.

While ground clashes were the second leading cause of civilian casualties, that toll was 19% lower than a record level seen in 2016.

Yamamoto expressed deep concerns at the high number of casualties caused by suicide bombings and other attacks using improvised explosive devices (IEDs). This amounted to three times as many attacks as in 2016, double the number of deaths and 30 percent more total civilian casualties.

The offer comes amid increased United States airstrikes against the Taliban in southern and northern Afghanistan as Trump's administration is now mainly focusing on the use of force against the insurgents. Of those, 3,438 died and 7,924 were wounded. It was the first annual decline in overall civilian casualties since 2012.

The report blamed the Islamic State's Afghan branch for 1,000 civilian casualties - 399 killed and 601 wounded.

However, Taliban said privatizing the war would be a grave mistake after reports surfaced that a private firm named Black Water offered its services to replace the US troops with 5,500 private contractors who would train the Afghan soldiers to join them in the fight against Taliban.

Last year, Trump announced "new rules of engagement" for U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

But low-level contacts between the government, worldwide groups including the United Nations and groups close to the Taliban have continued even as the insurgency has escalated. Eighty-one per cent of the victims were children and many of those who survived lost limbs or eyes, and suffered other serious injuries and psychological trauma, limiting their prospects for a normal life.

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