The leading cause of civilian casualties in Afghanistan is said to be ground combat and crossfire rather than the improvised explosive devices (IEDs), increasing the number of civilian fatalities to 24 percent in the first half of 2014, according to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan's (UNAMA) mid-year report on Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict.
The report states that ground warfare has greatly increased the number of casualties, especially among the children and women, causing two of every five civilian deaths.
UNAMA documented figures from January 1, 2014 to June 30, 2014. Just in the first six months of the year, UNAMA recorded 4,853 civilian casualties. During the same period in 2013, the number of fatalities has increased up to 24 percent in just half the year.
According to the report, in the first six months of 2014 child victims to conflict increased 34 percent, claiming the lives of 295 and injuring 776. The number of women fatalities increased 24 percent, including 148 killed and 292 injured.
"In 2014, the fight is increasingly taking place in communities, public places and near the homes of ordinary Afghans, with death and injury to women and children in a continued disturbing upward spiral," said the Director of Human Rights for UNAMA, Georgette Gagnon. "More efforts are needed to protect civilians from the harms of conflict and to ensure accountability for those deliberately and indiscriminately killing them."
IED's are the second leading cause of death this year, taking the lives of 1,463 civilians, an increase of seven percent from 2013. The highest number of deaths used by this tactic was reported in the first six months of 2009.
UNAMA's efforts are to address the alarming increase of civilian deaths due to warfare. They have worked with the government of Afghanistan, the Taliban and the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to bring in to effect the protection and end of innocent lives being taken by conflict.