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More than 20 killed as artillery shelling hits market in Afghanistan

On June 29th 2020, artillery shells landed in a livestock market in Sangin district in Afghanistan’s Helmand province. The shelling left 23 civilians killed and wounded 40 others.

While the government and the Taliban traded blame for the shelling, the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission and the United Nations determined that the shells had been launched by government forces on to the area, which is under Taliban control.

The shelling was said to be in response to an earlier Taliban attack.

Last year, Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) recorded more than 800 incidents of explosive violence in Afghanistan. These resulted in a total of 9,187 casualties, of which 50% (4,630) were civilians.

While the vast majority (78%) of civilian casualties from explosive violence were caused by improvised explosive devices (IEDs), 525 (11%) were caused by ground-launched explosive weapons and 502 (11%) were caused by airstrikes.

AOAV condemns the use of violence against civilians and the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. AOAV encourages all armed actors to stop using explosive weapons with wide-area affects in areas where there is likely to be a high concentration of civilians.