The number of civilian casualties in Afghanistan was down 15 percent in the first half of 2012 compared with the same period of the previous year, according to a United Nations report released Wednesday.
“The United Nations welcomes the reduction in civilian casualties, but we must remember that Afghan children, women and men continue to be killed and injured at alarmingly high levels,” said Nicholas Haysom, the secretary-general’s deputy special representative for Afghanistan.
Of the more than 3,000 Afghan civilians casualties, about a third of which were women and children, the report attributed 80% to anti-government forces. This indicates a significant reduction in the number of non-combatants killed and injured by pro-government forces, who were responsible for 10% of the civilian injuries and deaths, a 25% decrease from the previous year.
However, despite the reduction of civilian casualties, the report also noted that attacks on educational facilities have increased, putting children at risk and preventing them from receiving an education. In the first half of 2012, there were 34 alleged Taliban attacks on educational institutions, over a 300% increase from the 10 reported attacks in the same period of the previous year. These attacks primarily targeted schools for girls, and tactics include arson, poisoning, and other acts of violence and intimidation.