For the first time since the United Nations began tracking civilian casulties in Afghanistan, the number of civilain casulties declined last year. The news, though, is not all good–or even remotely so.
While overall civilian deaths declined in 2012 by about 12% from 2011 levels (2,754 civilian deaths and 4,805 injuries compared to 3,131 deaths and 4,706 injuries) the number of women and girls killed in conflict jumped by 20%. The number of women specifically targeted for assassination jumped three fold.
Women and girls continued to suffer enormously from the effects of the armed conflict. The number of female civilian casualties was 864 ( 301 deaths and 563 injuries), a 20
percent increase compared to 2011. The majority of female victims were killed or injured while engaging in their everyday activities such as working in their homes or in fields. For example on 13 July, in Nangarhar province, Khogyani district, Anti-Government Elements attacked an Afghan National Border Police (ANBP) check-post with heavy weapons and small arms. During this attack, a rocket hit a nearby house killing a woman and wounding two children.
Women and girls killed and injured from overall incidents of targeted killings more than tripled in 2012, resulting in 51 casualties, in comparison to 16 in 2011. The deliberate
targeting of women specifically continued in 2012. Especially egregious was the killing of two directors of the Department of Women’s Affairs in Laghman province in July and
December by Anti-Government Elements. Both killings followed threats by AntiGovernment Elements against the women in relation to their work with the Government on women’s issues. On 13 July, Anti-Government Elements detonated a magnetic IED against the vehicle of the director of the Department of Women’s Affairs, killing her and wounding her husband and daughter. Similarly on 10 December, two armed Taliban members shot and killed the acting Director of the Department of Women’s Affairs in Laghman province.
The conflict in Afghanistan is a war on women, in a very literal sense.