UN seriously concerned at deaths of Afghan children and woman in recent clash

Afghan children at play. Photo: UNAMA/Aurora Verceles Alambra

8 April 2013 – The United Nations today voiced “serious concern” over the deaths of at least 10 Afghan children and a woman, and injuries to seven others in an armed clash during a joint Afghan-NATO operation against the Taliban in eastern Kunar province.

“The Afghan National Security Forces and the international military forces should take all measures aimed at preventing harm to civilians during military operations, including those which involve the use of aerial force,” the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said in a statement.

“UNAMA urgently renews its call on all parties engaged in military operations to be mindful always of their obligations to protect civilians and to prevent civilian casualties.”

According to published reports the children and the woman were killed during a United States air strike which also claimed the life of a senior Taliban commander in the Shaigal Wa Shiltan district near the Pakistani border.

The United States provides the bulk of the international forces led by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in the battle against the Taliban.

According to a UNAMA report published in February, the number of Afghan civilians killed or injured dropped by 12 percent in 2012, the first decrease since the UN began keeping track of such figures, but attacks on women and children, and threats on perceived Government supporters, are on the rise.

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