The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) condemns in the strongest terms yesterday’s suicide attack in Yahyakhail district in the south-eastern province of Paktika.
On 23 November, a suicide attacker detonated an improvised explosive device in a sports field killing at least 50 civilians who were attending a volleyball match and injuring at least 60 others. Many children were among the dead and injured.
“This indiscriminate attack in an area crowded with civilians demonstrates a complete disregard for civilian lives,” said the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of UNAMA, Nicholas Haysom. “Deliberately and indiscriminately causing death and injury to such a large number of civilians is an atrocity.”
UNAMA emphasizes that the indiscriminate use of explosives in areas crowded by civilians is a serious violation of international humanitarian law and may amount to a war crime. All parties to the armed conflict in Afghanistan – including all Anti-Government Elements – are bound to uphold their legal obligations to at all times avoid harm to civilians.
Yesterday’s attack in Yahyakhail district adds to the rising number of civilian casualties documented in 2014 with UNAMA recording the highest number of civilian casualties this year since 2009. Rising civilian casualties in 2014 are attributed to increased ground engagements and the increased use of improvised explosive devices both of which are killing and injuring more Afghan civilians so far this year than previously documented by UNAMA.
UNAMA expresses condolences to those who have lost loved ones in the attack and wishes a speedy recovery to all those who have been injured.