New UN report cites civilian harm, human rights concerns in Kunduz during temporary Taliban occupation

A woman registers to pick up her aid package in Kunduz city, Afghanistan, in April 2015 after escaping fighting in her district between the Taliban and government forces. Photo: Bethany Matta/IRIN

12 December 2015 – A special report was released today by the United Nations mission in Afghanistan and the UN rights office, which documented civilian harm and human rights concerns in Kunduz, Afghanistan from 28 September to 13 October 2015 – the period covering the Taliban's attack and temporary occupation of Kunduz city, including the counter-offensive by pro-Government forces up to the point they regained control of the city.

The report titled Human Rights and Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict in Kunduz province, released jointly by UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) presents preliminary findings on arbitrary killings, abductions, assault and other forms of violence, including threats and widespread criminality, the use of child fighters during the conflict, the impact on access to education, health, and freedom of movement, according to a news release issued by UNAMA.

According to the report, civilian deaths and injuries during the reporting period and presents preliminary figure of 848 civilian casualties (289 deaths and 559 injured) that occurred in Kunduz during the reporting period and additionally it also found that vast majority of these casualties resulted from ground fighting that could not be attributed solely to one party.

The report also included the number of casualties resulting from an airstrike carried out by international military forces on a Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) hospital on 3 October, which totaled 30 deaths and 37 injured.

UNAMA said that additional information on civilian casualties from the period covered by this report will be detailed in the 2015 Annual Report on Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict, also produced jointly by UNAMA and OHCHR.

This report, UNAMA said will address key human rights concerns that arose during what was the first prolonged urban combat situation in Afghanistan since 2001, and outlines key recommendations to mitigate civilian casualties and protect civilians from harm, promote respect for international human rights and humanitarian law, and promote accountability.

News Tracker: past stories on this issue

Despite ‘relative’ calm in Kunduz, full conditions for humanitarian assistance not yet restored – UN

Related Stories

In-depth Interviews