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Afghan Rights Group Says Killings Of Civilians Rose To Almost 3,000 Last Year

People attend the funeral of an Afghan female judge who was assassinated in Kabul on January 17.

KABUL -- The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) says killings of civilians in the country’s conflict rose to nearly 3,000 last year despite the launch of intra-Afghan peace talks in Qatar.

The AIHRC said in its annual report, published on January 27, that there were 8,500 civilian casualties in 2020, including 2,958 deaths.

That was an increase from the 2,817 civilians killed the previous year, though overall casualties dropped from more than 10,000 with fewer civilians injured.

Just over half of the casualties were caused by the Taliban, 15 percent by government forces and its international partners, and the remainder from groups including the Islamic State (IS) and unknown actors.

A string of killings targeting officials, government employees, and journalists has swept the country in recent months, with Afghan and U.S. officials blaming the Taliban.

The targeted killings are part of a wider increase in violence that threatens talks launched in Doha in September and aimed at ending decades of conflict.

Taliban representatives and the Afghan government resumed talks in the Qatari capital earlier this month.

With reporting by Reuters
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