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Afghanistan’s forgotten massacre. 1,600 people killed from the beginning of 2016

Sono più di cinquemila le vittime, tra morti e feriti in Afghanistan, dall’inizio dell’anno. Le Nazioni Unite lanciano l’allarme, parlando di “cifre record”.

More than 1,600 people have been killed and 3,565 wounded over the first six months of 2016. Afghanistan keeps being a land stage to daily violence, as shown by the United Nations’ latest report. Such figures represent a “half-year record since counting began in 2009” and have increased by 4 per cent compared to the first half of 2015, for a total of 5,166 civilian casualties.

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A mother (on the left) mourns her kid who died in a suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan ©Shah Marai/Afp/Getty Images

The figures could be an underestimate

The UN has published the report only two days after the umpteenth massacre. On Saturday 23 July, two suicide attacks killed 80 people in Kabul. “People are killed while praying, working, studying, fetching water, recovering in hospitals,” said Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan Tadamichi Yamamoto.

The organisation has also stressed that “the figures are conservative – almost certainly an underestimate”. Yet, data shows that civilian casualties recorded between 1 January 2009 and 30 June 2016 have risen to 64,000, including 23,000 deaths and 41,000 injured. 2009 marks the launch of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

According to the UN, violence is mainly perpetrated by rebel and fundamentalist groups, in particular by the Taliban and the Islamic State. In fact, 60 per cent of civilian casualties can be ascribed to these groups. However, UMANA documented an increase in civilian casualties attributable to pro-government forces, which is 23 per cent of the total.

The life in Afghanistan told through 5,166 dreadful stories

Data concerning children are appalling. 388 children have been killed in the first six months of this year, while 1,121 have been injured mainly due to landmines and unexploded devices.

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© Noorullah Shirzada/Afp/Getty Images

Equally appalling is the life of Afghans told by High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Raad Al Hussein, quoted in the report: “The family that lost a breadwinner, forcing the children to leave school and struggle to make ends meet; the driver who lost his limbs, depriving him of his livelihood; the man who went to the bazaar to shop for his children only to return home to find them dead; the broken back and leg that has never been treated because the family cannot afford the cost of treatment; the parents who collected their son’s remains in a plastic bag… In just the past six months, there have been at least 5,166 such stories.”

 

Featured image: the place of the latest attack in Kabul, Afghanistan ©Haroon Sabawoon/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

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