UN strongly condemns Afghan civilian deaths caused by improvised explosive devices

Nicholas Haysom. Photo: Fardin Waezi/UNAMA

1 June 2014 – The United Nations has strongly condemned the killing of 12 civilians in Afghanistan’s Ghazni province on Saturday, when two vehicles traveling to a wedding party hit pressure-plate improvised explosive devices (IEDs) planted on the road.

Six women, two girls, two boys, and two male drivers were killed in the incident in Giro district, according to a press statement issued by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

The Mission noted that IEDs used by anti-government elements is the leading cause of civilian deaths and injuries this year. It has documented 312 civilian deaths and 695 civilians injured by these weapons between 1 January and 22 May. Of these, 104 civilians were killed and 118 injured by pressure-plate IEDs, a 39 per cent increase compared to the same period in 2013.

“Rising civilian casualties in 2014 from IEDs, particularly indiscriminate pressure-plate IEDs, is extremely disturbing,” said Nicholas Haysom, the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan.

“I reiterate UNAMA’s call to all anti-government elements to cease using these terrible weapons which have devastating consequences for civilians.”

The Mission stressed that the use of indiscriminate victim-activated IEDs – which function like massive anti-personnel landmines – may amount to a war crime and is a serious violation of international humanitarian law which binds all parties – including anti-government elements – to the armed conflict in Afghanistan.

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