United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned in the “strongest terms” the recent shelling that hit a wedding party in Afghanistan and reportedly killed 25 people and wounded 45 others.
In a statement released yesterday by his spokesperson, Mr. Ban urged the Afghan Government to conduct a “full investigation” of the incident that occurred in southern Helmand province on 31 December and bring the perpetrators to justice.
He also extended his deepest condolences to the relatives of the victims and wished a swift recovery to those injured.
Civilian casualties in Afghanistan have increased by nearly 20 per cent in 2014 compared to the previous year and were expected to rise to a figure over 10,000 by the end of December, although that number has yet to be tallied and confirmed.
From 1 January 2014 to the end of November, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) documented 9,617 civilian casualties, including 3,188 civilian deaths and 6,429 civilian injuries.
Compared to 2013, child casualties jumped 33 per cent and women civilian casualties increased 14 per cent as civilians were increasingly caught up in deadly ground engagements and fighting between Afghan forces and insurgents.