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Afghan Watchdog: Average of 16 civilians killed, wounded every day in past six months

A Taliban ambulance bomb exploded in Kabul and killed 95 people on Saturday. (Twitter)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) says that on average 16 civilians have been killed or wounded every day across the country in the first half of 2020.

A total of 1,213 civilians have been killed and 1,744 others wounded in 880 separate security incidents during the first six months of the year, according to the AIHRC’s report on civilian casualties published on July 14.

The report said civilian casualties have dropped by 11 percent compared to the same period last year.

The AIHRC said Taliban attacks were responsible for 48.5 percent of the recorded civilian casualties.

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Government forces are behind 15.5 percent of the casualties, the Islamic State (IS) extremist group 6.3 percent, and international forces 2.3 percent.

Attacks by unknown perpetrators accounted for 26.7 percent of the casualties.

Most of the casualties were from targeted killings, home-made bomb blasts such as roadside bombs or sticky bombs, rocket attacks, suicide attacks, ground battles, airstrikes and night raids, the AIHRC said.

Casualties from suicide attacks have increased by 109 percent compared to the first six months of 2019, most of them claimed by the IS group.

On July 14, a roadside bomb in eastern Kabul killed at least four civilians and wounded four others, including children, officials said.

Kabul police spokesman Ferdaws Faramarz said the victims were riding in a car in the district of Surobi when their vehicle hit the bomb, setting it off.

District Governor Gohar Khan Baburi gave a higher casualty toll, saying five civilians were killed and 11 wounded.

No group or individual immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but the district official claimed the Taliban had placed the roadside bomb to target a military convoy.

The Taliban have stepped up attacks across Afghanistan in recent weeks, targeting Afghan security forces.

The surge comes despite the militant group’s signing of a peace deal with the United States in February aimed at paving the way for an end to the war in Afghanistan.