Image: iStock
Image: iStock

The number of Afghans killed or wounded in suicide attacks soared 46% in the first nine months of 2018, the United Nations said Sunday, as insurgent groups increasingly target civilians, AFP reported.

Suicide bombs caused 2,343 civilian casualties, more than any other tactic, including ground fighting, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said in a special report on the use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in the long-running conflict.

Civilian casualties from all types of IEDs, including suicide bombs and pressure-plate mines, rose 21% from a year earlier to 3,634.

UNAMA warned the increasing number of “deliberate and indiscriminate attacks” against civilians constituted “serious violations of international humanitarian law” that could amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.

UNAMA said: “The unpredictable nature of these types of attacks, often away from the fighting and in civilian populated areas, has caused ordinary Afghans to live in fear of the next explosion, severely curtailing their ability to carry out normal lives.”

More than half of the civilian causalities caused by IEDs were attributed to ISIS, while the Taliban, Afghanistan’s biggest insurgent group, accounted for 40%.

Many of the attacks “appeared to be directed specifically” at the minority Shiite community, UNAMA said.