KABUL, 8 April 2014 – The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) strongly condemns an attack in the southern province of Kandahar which killed 15 civilians and injured another five through the use of a pressure-plate improvised explosive device (PP-IED).
On 7 April, in Gilankicha village in Kandahar’s Maywand district, a PP-IED detonated by a pickup truck carrying 20 civilians, killing 14 men and one woman, and injuring four men and one woman. The incident took place on a road frequently used by civilians.
“The recent increased use of indiscriminate, victim-activated improvised explosive devices (IEDs) by anti-Government elements in areas often used by civilians is particularly alarming,” said the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and head of UNAMA, Ján Kubiš. “UNAMA reinforces its calls for an immediate end in the use of these illegal, indiscriminate IEDs.”
In the first three months of 2014, UNAMA documented the deaths of 187 civilians from IEDs and injuries to another 357 – a total of 544 civilian casualties, up 13 per cent compared to the same period in 2013. Within these figures and time period, civilian casualties from PP-IEDs rose 93 per cent, reversing a decline observed in the use of this type of device in 2013.
UNAMA highlights that the use of illegal, indiscriminate IEDs may amount to a war crime. International humanitarian law – which binds all parties to the armed conflict in Afghanistan – strictly prohibits the use of weapons and attacks that do not distinguish between civilians and military objectives.
UNAMA extends its condolences to the families of those killed and wishes a speedy recovery for those injured.