KABUL, 3 June 2013 – The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) strongly condemns the two deadly attacks which took place in the country’s east today, killing at least 19 people, including a dozen children – demonstrating once again that anti-government elements knowingly target areas frequented by civilians.
“These attacks resulted in a high number of civilian casualties, with minimal impact on their purported military targets – any such violence is unacceptable, but especially when it involves civilians and even more so when it involves children,” said the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of UNAMA, Ján Kubiš. “Any attacks which deliberately take place near a school can only be condemned for the heinous attacks that they are.”
In the first attack, according to initial reports, a suicide bomber riding a motorcycle detonated his explosives as a convoy of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) was passing a nearby boys’ high school in the district of Chamkani, in Paktya province. The explosion killed ten boys and injured at least 15 other civilians, including schoolchildren. Two ISAF soldiers and an Afghan police officer were also killed in the blast.
In the city of Mihtarlam, the capital of Laghman province, an improvised explosive device was detonated on a roadside, reportedly killing seven members of one family, including four women and two children. The family was said to be returning home in a truck after collecting firewood.
In the past two weeks, conflict-related violence has killed 125 Afghan civilians and injured 287, a 24 per cent increase in total civilian casualties from the same period in 2012. Anti-government elements were responsible for 84 per cent of all civilian casualties during this two-week period.
UNAMA stresses once again that the use of suicide attacks and improvised explosive devices against civilians must stop. It notes that the indiscriminate use of such attacks is in contravention of humanitarian law and may amount to war crimes.
UNAMA extends its condolences to the families of all of those killed in the attacks and wishes a speedy recovery for the injured.