Afghanistan

Explosive Violence in Afghanistan in 2022


Despite a significant drop in civilian casualties recorded in Afghanistan in 2022, from 3,051 the previous year to 1,314 – a 57% decrease – the country remained the second most impacted for civilian deaths and injuries from explosive violence last year. Indeed, last year AOAV noted the lowest levels of civilian harm from explosive violence in Afghanistan since recording began in 2010. The number of reported incidents also decreased, dropping by 80% from 458 to 90. However, the proportion of casualties of explosive weapons use that were reported as civilians increased significantly, with civilians representing 92% of all casualties recorded in the country. In 2021, civilians accounted for 55% of all casualties. The proportion of casualties of explosive violence that were civilians consequently increased by 67% last year. Of the civilian casualties recorded in 2022, 404 were killed, and 910 injured. At least 29 were reported as children, nine as women, and two as men. 

IEDs continued to cause the majority of civilian harm in Afghanistan. They caused 77% (2,347) of civilian casualties across 294 incidents in 2021, and 85% (1,121) of civilian harm across 68 incidents in 2022. Correspondingly, in both 2021 and 2022, non-state actors were responsible for the majority of civilian harm, causing 84% (2,578) of civilian casualties in 2021 and 91% (1,191) last year. However, the average number of civilians harmed per IED attack spiked over the past year, rising by 106% from 8 to 16.5. In 2022, IED attacks in places of worship caused 48% (539) civilian casualties across 12 reported incidents, and attacks in schools caused 222 civilian casualties across four incidents.  

The Taliban’s take-over of Afghanistan, in August 2021, consequently didn’t transform patterns of civilian harm from explosive violence very much, save that the Taliban reportedly perpetrated no incidents of explosive violence last year, compared to 60 in 2021, and caused no reported civilian casualties of such attacks, compared to 320 the year before. Islamic State’s affiliate in Afghanistan, ISIS-Khorasan Province, or ISIS-K, caused 376 civilian casualties last year, across 14 incidents. Just like 2021, the majority of civilian casualties, 62% (815), were caused by unknown non-state actors. Pakistan reportedly caused 70 civilian casualties in Afghanistan in 2022, across three incidents.

Significantly fewer provinces were impacted by explosive violence last year compared to 2021. AOAV recorded incidents of explosive weapons use across 16 Afghan provinces in 2022, a 59% decrease from 39 the year prior. The highest civilian casualties occurred in Kabul (701), Balkh (143), Kunduz (110), Herat (97), and Khost (63).

The Taliban made claims that they would bolster security in Afghanistan and clamp down on jihadi and extremist violence. While incidents of IED attacks have decreased since the group took control of the country, such attacks have only become more deadly.

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