Afghan Civilian Casualty Toll Up By 82% in July

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A new TOLOnews security report shows a marked increase in the number of Afghan civilian casualties during July following the escalation of violence in some regions of the country – mainly in the southern province of Helmand.

“192 civilians were killed in July which shows an 82 percent increase in the toll compared to a month earlier,” the report noted.

The report found that air strikes on militant targets sharply increased in July while ground operations saw a 22 percent drop.

“In July, Afghanistan experienced a dramatic surge in security threats and government forces continued their military campaigns in at least fifteen provinces with the majority of the victims being civilians,” the report read.

“Harming civilians and damaging public assets are against Islamic principles, warring factions need to take the issue seriously,” said Rafiullah Bedar, spokesman for the Independent Human Rights Commission of Afghanistan (AIHRC).

“Their (Taliban) attacks were less during Ramazan, therefore we also dropped the number of operations, but now we have outlined more robust programs and our activities are moving forward in a good manner,” said Dawlat Waziri, a defense ministry spokesman.

Nangarhar, with 134 security incidents, tops the list of most volatile provinces in the country in July. Helmand, Ghazni and Kandahar were second, third and fourth respectively.

Daikundi and Panjsher provinces together topped the most secure provinces.

“The only solution is to mount pressure on Pakistan and resist (insurgency) inside the country,” said military analyst Saleh Mohammad Saljoqi.

In July, the insurgents focused their campaigns mainly on Helmand with their first operation being launched on Sangeen district. The insurgents later expanded their offensives on Khanashin and managed to take control of the district for a few hours. But these offensives were not limited to Khanashin and Sangeen as insurgents then attacked Nad Ali.

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