Kabul, Aug 3 (IANS) The number of civilian casualties in Afghanistan increased in July with over 1,500 non-combatants were either killed or injured in the war-torn country, the UN said on Saturday.
This is the highest number of civilian casualties in any month since May 2017 in Afghanistan, according to the UN.
The number of civilian deaths and injuries has been rising despite peace talks by the US and the Taliban gaining momentum. The fresh round of talks between the two sides began on Saturday in Doha, Efe news reported.
“As peace efforts have intensified in recent weeks so too has the conflict on the ground,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan.
“I call on all parties not to ramp up military operations,” in trying to gain maximum leverage and boost their bargaining position in the peace talks, said the envoy, who also heads the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan.
“Escalating the conflict will have one primary result: greater loss of civilian life. Now is the time to demonstrate restraint and real respect for the lives of ordinary Afghan civilians.”
The UN mission said there was a spike in the number of Taliban attacks in urban areas against Afghan military and security objects and personnel that caused a great harm to civilians.
It said the mission “remains gravely concerned by the harm done to civilians” by militant groups like the Taliban and Islamic State who use improvised explosive devices (IEDs) that caused more than 50 per cent of civilian casualties in July.