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14 killed in Taliban mortar attack on Afghan market

On Friday, July 5th 2019, a mortar fired by the Taliban landed on a market in Faryab province, Afghanistan, killing 14 and injuring 40.

The mortar landed on a busy market in Khwaja Sabz Posh district. It has been reported that the Taliban had been aiming for the army checkpoint near the market.

Four children were among those who had been taken to local hospitals.

Last year, AOAV recorded a significant increase in casualties from explosive violence in Afghanistan. Civilian casualties increased by 37%; from 3,119 civilian casualties in 2017, to 4,260 in 2018. This was the highest number of civilian casualties recorded in Afghanistan since the monitor began in October 2010.

However, whilst most (78%) of the civilian casualties in Afghanistan were caused by improvised explosive devices (IEDs) – and, notably, 61% (2,616) were from suicide attacks – ISIS were the main perpetrators.

Civilian casualties from ISIS’ use of explosive weapons in the country rose by 90% compared to the year before (from 676 in 2017 to 1,285 last year). Whilst casualties from Taliban use of explosive actually decreased by 27%, though it is increasingly difficult to attribute responsibility. (There was a 37% increase in civilian casualties from incidents by non-state actors where the perpetrating group was unknown.)

AOAV strongly condemns the use of violence against civilians and calls upon all states and groups to stop using weapons with wide-area impacts in populated areas, due to the severe impact these have on civilians.