Report on Civilian Casualties in Afghanistan

Press Release and Summary of the Findings of the Report

AIHRC, through publishing a report on civilian casualties in 1359 expressed its concern over the intensity and spread of insecurities and armed violence in the country, and once gain seriously demands from all parties to the conflicting to protect the lives and properties of the citizens during the armed conflicts. 

On the eve of the publication of this report, Dr. Sima Samar, Chairperson of the AIHRC said, “1395 was the bloodiest year for civilian in Afghanistan.  The number of civilian casualties increased more than 12 percent compared to the previous year, and more than ten thousand people were killed or injured.” She added, “The current year is also a difficult year in relation to human rights situation, and we express our serious concern over the increase of conflict-related violence in the country.  Killing of civilians is a clear violation of international humanitarian norms and principles and the perpetrators should be legally prosecuted.”

The report on civilian casualties in 1395 is based on direct and consistent monitoring conducted by the monitoring teams of the AIHRC on the situation of international humanitarian laws in the country. This report is based on direct observation by the AIHRC, the information presented by the families of the victims, wounded persons, witnesses, local elders, in charges of hospitals and security organs.

Summary of the Findings of the Report on Civilian Casualties in 1395

  • Civilian casualties in 1359 increased 12.48% compared to the previous year. During the year 1395 the number of civilian casualties exceeded to 10608 people (2823 killed and 7785 wounded) consisting of 5681 men, 1137 women and 2980 children.
  • In general, 67.50 percent of the perpetrators were anti-government armed groups ( 61.2 % the Taliban and 6.23% IS)
  • Perpetrators of 14.13% of civilian casualties were pro-state forces (government forces and international forces). Pro-government forces killed 481 people and wounded 1018 people.
  • Perpetrators of 18.2 percent of civilian casualties are unknown. It means that no group has taken the responsibility of the 18.2 percent of the civilian casualties.
  • Most civilian casualties occurred in 1395 was as a result of suicide attacks. , During this year, 25.61 percent of civilian casualties occurred as a result of suicide attacks which killed or wounded 2,717 people.
  • After suicide attacks, ground battles, terror and killing, roadside mines, rocket attacks and air strikes caused the most casualties in the country. 
  • During 1395, not only the geographical scope of insecurity and armed conflicts expanded and covering more areas, but the wartime related violence also intensified even further.
  • Another reason for the increase of civilian casualties was emergence of IS groups in 1395 which carried out many attacks against civilians in Kabul city and western parts of Afghanistan.
  • War tactics by the anti-government armed groups also contributed to the increase of civilian casualties. In addition to suicide attacks, the anti-government armed groups fired rockets on residential areas, especially in Lashkarga city and killed or wounded a large number of civilians in 1395. 
  • Comparison of casualty statistic in 1395 with 1394 shows that more children lost their lives or wounded in 1395. Casualties of children in 1395 increased three times compared to previous year. During 1394 around 1,116 children were killed or wounded while this number increased to 2980 children in 1395. 



AIHRC on the basis of the findings of this report presents the following recommendations for the Afghan government, international forces and anti-government armed groups, and calls on all parties involved the conflict to take the AIHRC’s recommendation into their serious consideration and exert their utmost efforts to implement them

  1. All parties involved in the conflict, including anti-government armed groups, are obliged to respect the provisions of the Geneva Conventions and its Additional Protocols of 1949 and the Customary International Humanitarian Law, during armed conflict. All parties to the conflict should know that the offending party shall be held responsible for violation of these rules in all circumstances, conditions and time, and shall be prosecuted.
  2. All parties should take note that killing civilians and damaging civilian person and property is prohibited. The anti-government armed group is recommended to avoid targeting civilians, and refrain using tactics that result in civilian casualties.
  3. The anti-government armed groups is recommended to stop hostage-taking, assassination and killing passengers,  influential civilian and Clergymen and engaging in extra-judicial killing.
  4. We demand the Afghan government to investigate armed-conflict related violations of IHL during armed conflict and try to identify and prosecute all those who have committed violations of IHL.
  5. We demand the Afghan government take effective legal action to disarm illegal armed people, and stop arbitrary practices by illegal and irresponsible armed forces committing violation of human rights and IHL under the name of "People uprising forces".
  6. We recommend the Afghan government and pro-government international forces to seriously respect the principles and rules of IHL, and by complying with the principle of distinction, proportionality and the principle of precaution, protect the lives, dignity and property of civilian population.
  7. AIHRC demands the Afghan government to investigate the case of violation of IHL and cooperate with the ICC, by collecting and handing over all the relevant documentations, evidence and cases related to war crimes to the ICC.
  8. We ask the Afghan government to teach human rights and IHL to all staff and members of the defense and security forces of the country.
  9. We demand the Afghan government and international organizations to coordinate the national and international humanitarian assistance and try to support individuals and families who have been displaced due to conflicts.

10) The Afghan government should pass the Law on Compensation, to individuals and families affected by the armed conflict in order to regularize the law and guarantee the affected people’s right to compensation.

11. We demand the Afghan government to take necessary measures as a responsible government to ensure the security of all citizens, in particular, ethnic and religious minorities, as well as the security of their religious ritual ceremonies