United Nations finds decline in Afghan civilian fatalities

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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.

More civilians were killed or injured by air strikes than in 2016, the United Nations report said.

The 2017 annual report, titled "Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict", gives a chilling assessment on the number of civilians killed by the ongoing conflict between the NATO-backed Afghan security forces and anti-government factions, such as Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) and the Taliban, emphasizing they were the primary causes of non-combatant deaths.

Yamamoto, who also heads UNAMA, expressed deep concern at the increased harm to civilians caused by suicide attacks.

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

The report also says casualties from suicide attacks increased by 17 percent, to a record high.

KABUL-The Taliban said on Wednesday, in a rare statement to the American people, they wanted to end Afghanistan's 17-year war through talks, while warning the message should not be seen as a sign of weakness and the fight against US forces would go on.

Reckless actions by global troops had increased collateral damages and registered 20 percent of the civilian casualties - a seven percent increase from 2016.

"I am particularly appalled by the continued indiscriminate and unlawful use of (improvised explosive devices) such as suicide bombs and pressure-plate devices in civilian populated areas", he said. As a result, casualties from suicide bombings and attacks jumped by 17 percent.

In the statement issued Wednesday, the insurgent group did not mention the attack on a Kabul hotel which killed more than 30 people in January or the attack on the streets of the Kabul later that week that claimed the lives of more than 100 people. Child casualties - 861 killed and 2,318 injured - decreased by 10 per cent compared with 2016.

While the Taliban continue to seize more territory from the government, civilian deaths can also be attributed to poorly trained military staff and rampant corruption.

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 USA troops with 5,500 private contractors who would train the Afghan soldiers to join them in the fight against Taliban.

According to Airwars, a watchdog group, in Afghanistan, the number of civilian casualties nearly doubled in 2017 compared with the year before.

UNAMA Report 2017 gives us a competitive study of last eight years-from 2009-to 2017. "The Afghan government can only negotiate to end the war if the Taliban are ready".