Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

A boy inspects his damaged home after after an attack near the Bagram Air Base near Kabul, Afghanistan, on Dec. 11, 2019.

Rahmat Gul/The Associated Press

A report by the UN mission in Afghanistan on Monday noted a drop in the number of civilians killed in violence in the first three months of this year, compared with the same time last year, but underscored the still heavy toll the conflict continues to inflict on the civilian population.

The report said 533 people, including 152 children, died because of the fighting in the war-torn country in the first quarter of 2020, and hundreds more were wounded. That represented a 29-per-cent decrease, compared with the same period in 2019, and the lowest death toll figure for a first quarter of a year since 2012.

The report came as the Kabul police said a sticky bomb attached to a vehicle detonated in the capital on Monday but caused no casualties.

Story continues below advertisement

According to the report, the Taliban and other anti-government militant groups, such as the Islamic State’s affiliate in Afghanistan, were responsible for the majority of the civilian casualties during the first three months – or 55 per cent. The Taliban were responsible for as many as 39 per cent of civilian casualties, the report said, an increase by 22 per cent compared with the same period last year.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid rejected the UN report as an attempt “to cover up daily crimes against civilians committed by U.S. and Afghan forces.”

“Afghans are witnessing that most of the civilian casualties are due to indiscriminate bombings, rocket attacks on villages and towns as well as raids on civilian homes,” Mr. Mujahid said.

The UN report said Afghan forces and their allies were responsible for 32 per cent of all civilian casualties during the first quarter of 2020. The report also said that pro-government forces were responsible for more child casualties than the Taliban and other militants and more than twice as many child deaths – mainly because of fatalities inflicted during air strikes and indirect fire during ground operations against militants.

Children and women continue to be disproportionately affected by the violence, it said, adding that the UN mission documented that 152 children and 60 women died in violence from Jan. 1 to March 31.

The report also highlighted a disturbing increase in violence in March, when it was hoped that the Afghan government and the Taliban would start negotiations after a peace deal that was signed by the Taliban and the United States at the end of February.

The UN mission in Afghanistan is especially concerned about the escalation in violence in March and increasing civilian casualties, the report said, and in particular, about the uptick in civilian casualties last month as a result of operations by Afghan forces, mainly ground engagements, indirect fire and air strikes.

Story continues below advertisement

The UN report came a day after Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. peace envoy to Afghanistan, called on the country’s feuding leaders to set their differences aside to combat the novel coronavirus pandemic and COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus, and advance the stalled U.S. deal with the Taliban.

Deborah Lyons, the UN chief’s special representative for Afghanistan, echoed that appeal, saying she called “on all parties to seize the opportunity” and “to focus collective efforts on fighting a common enemy, the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“To safeguard the lives of countless civilians in Afghanistan and to give the nation hope of a better future, it is imperative that violence is stopped with the establishment of a ceasefire and for peace negotiations to commence,” she said.

Afghanistan has reported 1,703 cases and 57 deaths from the coronavirus.

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies