The Explosive Weapons Monitor is a civil society initiative that conducts research and analysis on harms from and practices of explosive weapon use in populated areas for the International Network on Explosive Weapons (INEW) 


8443

Running annual civilian casualty count 2021


Monthly update on Explosive Weapons use

Casualties

Populated areas

Incidents

110

Deaths

319 civilians

113 armed actors

Injuries

589 civilians

61 armed actors

Unpopulated areas

Incidents

92

Deaths

17 civilians

1106 armed actors

Injuries

17 civilians

344 armed actors

Impact on civilians

Populated areas

84 % of civilians killed and injured in a populated area

Unpopulated areas

2 % of civilians killed and injured in a unpopulated area

Monthly Summary

At least one death or injury from the use of explosive weapons was recorded in 20 countries and territories in August 2021. The five most affected countries in terms of civilian casualties from the use of explosive weapons were Afghanistan, Syria, Pakistan, India and Iraq. Worldwide, there were 202 recorded incidents of explosive weapon use, causing 2,565 casualties, of which 942 (37%) were civilians. 

During August 2021, there were nine recorded incidents of explosive weapon use affecting aid access and the provision of education and healthcare services in Afghanistan, the DRC, Myanmar and Syria. In these incidents, hospitals and schools were damaged and a health worker killed by aerial bombs, mortar shelling, grenades, and missiles. This data may include some incidents where the device did not detonate or where there were no civilian casualties, and includes incidents where historical items such as unexploded ordnance were found and which affected the provision of these services.

Monthly incidents by country

0

1-5

6–10

11–50

51–100

> 100

Affected countries in August 2021

Afghanistan

August 2021

In August 2021, across 26 incidents, Afghanistan suffered 451 civilian casualties, accounting for 33% of the total casualties (1,383) from explosive weapon use. 192 of the civilian casualties were killed and 11 were reportedly children. 87% (394) of the civilian deaths and injuries were caused by directly emplaced explosive weapons, specifically IEDs, while 9% (39) were caused by ground-launched weapons, specifically mortars, and 4% (18) by air-launched weapons. 14 of the total 26 incidents of explosive weapon use took place in populated areas, and all of the 451 civilian casualties occurred in populated areas. These populated areas include locations such as transport related infrastructure and in urban residential areas.

The incident with the highest number of civilian casualties took place on 26 August when a suicide bomber from the Islamic State’s Afghanistan branch (ISIS-K) detonated a suicide vest and IED in a large crowd outside Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport, in the final days of evacuation flights out of the country. 334 civilians were killed or wounded in the attack, and 61 armed-actors, including NATO forces and Taliban members, were also casualties. This incident accounted for 74% of the civilian casualties in August 2021. August saw a significant increase in the number of recorded casualties of explosive violence from July, as Taliban offensives on provincial capitals intensified and culminated in their takeover of Afghanistan’s capital Kabul, and the nation as a whole. The number of civilian casualties increased by 71% when compared to July. The number of armed-actor casualties increased dramatically from 268 in July to 932 in August. 87% of the armed-actor casualties were fatalities. The vast majority of recorded armed-actor casualties were Taliban members. The province with the highest number of civilian casualties was Kabul, owing to the ISIS-K suicide attack at HKIA’s Abbey Gate. The provinces with the next highest numbers of civilian casualties were Ghazni (22), Herat (13), and Balkh (12). With regard to armed actor casualties, provinces with the highest casualty numbers were Jowzjan (248), Herat (200), Kandahar (113), and Helmand (110). 

Sources: BBC, Al Jazeera

Education

On 8 August 2021, in the 7th police district, Lashkargah city, Helmand province in Afghanistan, US forces targeting Taliban positions reportedly bombed and destroyed the Muhammad/Shaheed Anwar Khan High School. Sources: Independent and Tolo

Healthcare

As reported on 08 August 2021 in the 7th police district, Lashkargah city, Helmand province in Afghanistan, US forces targeting Taliban positions reportedly bombed and destroyed the Safyano Hospital. A nurse was also killed and a guard wounded. Further, as reported on 26 August 2021, a suicide blast killed a Navy medic in Kabul, Afghanistan. Sources: Independent, Tolo and AP

Azerbaijan

August 2021

There was one incident of explosive weapon use in Azerbaijan in August 2021, resulting in one civilian casualty. On 30 August, a civilian was injured by a landmine blast in Takgaya, Dashkasan, near the border with Kelbajar region. Source: Azernews

Cameroon

August 2021

There was one incident of explosive weapon use in Cameroon in August 2021, resulting in 2 armed actor casualties. There were no civilian casualties recorded in Cameroon in August 2021. On 4 August, two soldiers were killed when their vehicle hit an IED in Kumbo, Bui, in northwest Cameroon. Source: Journal du Cameroun

Colombia

August 2021

In August 2021 there was one incident of explosive weapon use in Colombia, which caused 13 civilian casualties. On 30 August, 13 people were injured when an IED was detonated outside a police station in Cucuta, Norte Santander, near Colombia’s border with Venezuela .The last recorded incident of explosive weapon use in Colombia took place in June 2021, also in Cucuta and targeting security forces. 

Sources: Independent, US News

Egypt

August 2021

There was one incident of explosive weapon use in Egypt in August 2021, resulting in 13 armed actor casualties. There were no civilian casualties recorded in Egypt in August 2021. On 12 August, seven Egyptian security forces were killed and six wounded by a roadside bomb planted by Islamic State militants in New Rafah, Sinai. Source: AP, Haaretz

Ethiopia

August 2021

There was one incident of explosive weapon use in Ethiopia in August 2021, resulting in the death of five civilians. On 19 August, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) shelled an urban residential area in Debre Tabor, Amhara, in north-central Ethiopia, killing five civilians, including three women. 

Source: Journal du Cameroun, Borkena

India

August 2021

Across 15 incidents in August 2021, India suffered 54 total casualties of explosive weapon use, of which 47 were civilians. Five of the civilian casualties were killed and 42 were injured. 44 of the 47 civilian casualties took place in populated areas. 30 civilian casualties were caused by ground launched weapons, all grenades, and 17 were caused by directly emplaced weapons, specifically IEDs. 

The worst incident of explosive violence took place on 5 August in Dantewada, Chhattisgarh, central India, where 1 civilian was killed and ten wounded, by an IED targeting a passenger vehicle. The IED was reportedly placed and detonated by Naxals, Maoist insurgency groups. 25 of the 47 civilian casualties were caused by non-State actors, and the perpetrators of the remaining 22 civilian casualties are unknown. Nine of the 15 incidents of explosive weapon use took place in Jammu and Kashmir, accounting for 25 civilian casualties. There were seven armed actor casualties in August, the same number recorded in July. The number of civilian casualties in August was eight-times higher than in July and incidents were recorded in three additional provinces. 


Sources: Devdiscourse, India Today

 

Iraq

August 2021

In August 2021, there were 28 incidents of explosive weapons use in Iraq, and 44 civilian casualties, 16 of whom were killed and 28 injured. There were 52 armed-actor casualties, 26 injured and 26 killed. 73% (32) of the 44 civilian casualties were caused by directly-emplaced weapons, specifically IEDs and roadside bombs. Air-launched weapons, specifically airstrikes, killed five civilians and injured six others, while one civilian was reportedly injured by ground launched weapons, specifically a missile. Non-state actors were recorded as the perpetrator of 20 incidents of explosive weapon use and 30 civilian casualties, including ISIS and the PKK, while state actors, namely Iraq and Turkey, were reportedly responsible for seven incidents and 11 civilian casualties. 12 civilian deaths and injuries took place on roads, eight at a hospital, and seven at a camp for displaced people. The province with the highest number of incidents and civilian casualties was Nineveh in northern Iraq, followed by Duhok, in Iraq’s Kurdistan region. 

The highest casualty incident took place in Sinjar, Nineveh, on 18 August, when four civilian healthcare workers were killed and four injured, and four armed actors killed by a Turkish drone strike on a health clinic. There were nine more incidents of explosive weapon use recorded in August than in July, but significantly fewer civilian casualties, with no incidents recording more than eight civilian casualties. The number of armed actor casualties increased, from 29 in July to 52 in August, with over six-times the number of fatalities in August (26). 

Sources: Kurdpress, Xinhua Net

Israel

August 2021

There was one incident of explosive weapon use in Israel in August 2021, resulting in two civilian casualties. On 18 August, a man and a woman were injured in the explosion of a car bomb in Jaffa, Tel Aviv. 

Source: Ynet, MiddleEast.in-24

Myanmar (Burma)

August 2021

There were 4 incidents of explosive weapon use in Myanmar in August 2021, and 11 civilian casualties, four of whom were killed and seven injured. There were no recorded armed-actor casualties. Seven civilian casualties were caused by directly emplaced weapons, specifically IEDs and landmines, while four were caused by ground launched weapons, specifically shelling.  In the deadliest incident this month, at least four civilian members of the same family were killed, including one child, by Myanmar State forces shelling of a village in Muse, Shan state. The number of civilian casualties of explosive weapon use in August has decreased by nearly half since July, when 21 civilians were killed and injured by explosive weapons. 

Sources: BNI, Radio Free Asia

Healthcare

In August 2021 in Myanmar, two incidents of explosive weapon use affecting the provision of healthcare were recorded. A grenade was thrown at a health clinic in Mon state and two bombs exploded at the back of a hospital in Yangon. Sources: ACLED1 and Mizzim

Niger

August 2021

There was one incident of explosive weapon use in Niger in August 2021, resulting in 70 armed actor casualties. There were no civilian casualties recorded in Niger in August 2021. On 5 August, 70 armed actors were killed in a Nigerian State airstrike in Jasuwan Garba-Urege. Sources: Daily Post, The News

Nigeria

August 2021

There were two incidents of explosive weapon use in Nigeria in August 2021, resulting in 64 armed actor casualties. There were no civilian casualties recorded in Nigeria in August 2021. All armed actor casualties were caused by the Nigerian State forces targeting insurgent groups with air-launched weapons in Zamfara and Borno. Sources: This Day Live, The News, Daily Post

Pakistan

August 2021

In August 2021, across 13 incidents, Pakistan suffered a total of 137 casualties from explosive weapon use, of which 78% (107) were civilians. This amounts to over five-times the number of civilian casualties recorded in July 2021. 20 civilians were killed, 87 were injured, and 9 of the casualties were reportedly children. Civilians accounted for 78% of the total casualties (137) in August. All 107 civilian casualties took place in populated areas. 70% (75) of civilians were casualties of directly emplaced weapons, specifically IEDs, while 30% (32) were casualties of ground launched weapons, specifically grenades.

There were two incidents of explosive weapon use that collectively accounted for 71% of the civilian casualties in August. The deadliest incident took place on 14 August in Karachi, Sindh province, when 13 people were killed and 10 injured in a grenade attack on a truck in Baldia town. All casualties were members of an extended family. Seven women and four children were killed. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack. The most injurious incident of explosive weapon use in Pakistan in August took place on 19 August, when three civilians were killed and at least 50 injured in a roadside bomb attack on a Shi’ite Ashura procession in Bahawalnagar, Punjab. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack. 

The significant increase in civilian casualties from July to August can be attributed to these two incidents. Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa remain the provinces with the highest number of incidents of explosive weapon use from July to August. This month, the provinces accounted for six and four incidents respectively, of the total 13 incidents of explosive weapon use in Pakistan. The proportion of civilian casualties relative to total casualties has increased from 41% in July to 78% in August.

Sources: Dawn, ANI, The Express Tribune, Albawaba

Philippines

August 2021

There were two incidents of explosive weapon use in the Philippines in August 2021, resulting in 11 armed actor casualties. There were no civilian casualties recorded in the Philippines in August 2021. All armed actor casualties were caused by directly emplaced weapons, specifically IEDs. Sources: Philippine News Agency, Philippine News Agency, Inquirer

Russia

August 2021

There was one incident of explosive weapon use in Russia in August 2021, resulting in the death of three civilians. On 21 August, a man and two teenage boys were killed when a homemade grenade was detonated in their house. 

Sources: Mehr News Agency, Alghadeer TV Channel

Somalia

August 2021

There were five incidents of explosive weapon use in Somalia in August 2021, and 17 civilian casualties, ten of whom were killed and seven injured. There were 106 armed actor casualties, 98 of whom were killed and eight injured. 90 of the 106 armed actor casualties were al-Shabaab militants killed in an airstrike by the Somali military on 24 August. All 17 civilian casualties were caused by directly emplaced weapons, specifically IEDs, roadside bombs and car bombs. Two incidents and five civilian casualties were caused by suicide attacks. 15 of the 17 civilian casualties occurred in populated areas. 

The highest casualty incident for civilians took place on 10 August in Beledweyne, Mudug, where 8 civilians were killed and four wounded by a roadside bomb. The perpetrator of the incident is unknown. The number of civilian casualties in August decreased significantly, from 59 in July to 17 this month. 

Sources: Mehr News Agency, Airwars, GardaWorld, The News

Syria

August 2021

In August 2021, there were 76 recorded incidents of explosive weapon use in Syria, and 219 civilian casualties. 73 of these casualties were killed and 146 were injured. 23 were women and 52 casualties were reportedly children. Civilians accounted for 57% of the total casualties (381) in August 2021. Ground launched weapons, such as artillery shelling, mortars, rockets, and grenades, accounted for the majority of incidents and civilian casualties, at 53 of the 76 incidents and 87% (191) of the civilian casualties. There were 19 incidents involving use of directly emplaced weapons, predominantly IEDs as well as mines, causing 28 civilian casualties. There were two recorded incidents of the use of air-launched weapons, which caused no civilian casualties but 24 armed-actor casualties. 64% (140) of the civilian casualties in August were caused by State actors, and of these, 80% (112) of the civilian casualties were caused by the Syrian regime. All 219 civilian deaths and injuries took place in populated areas. The locations with the highest numbers of civilian casualties were villages (85) and urban residential areas (82). The highest number of civilian casualties took place in Aleppo (79), where 14 civilians were killed and 65 injured, and 22 of the casualties were children. The next most dangerous province for civilians was Daraa, where a new and prolonged offensive was launched by Syrian regime forces, and 42 civilians were killed or injured in the province. In Idlib, 42 civilian casualties also occurred. 

The highest casualty incident for civilians in August took place on 6 August in Bab, Aleppo, when 18 civilians, including four children and three women, were injured by Syrian regime shelling on an urban residential area. Civilian casualties in Aleppo nearly doubled, from 41 in July to 79 in August, as in Daraa, from 26 in July to 42 in August. Civilian casualties in Idlib decreased significantly, from 137 in July to 42 in August, as the focus of the Syrian regime offensives shifted to Daraa. The number of civilian casualties in the country as a whole decreased slightly, from 235 in July to 219 in August, while armed-actor casualties more than doubled, from 75 in July to 162 in August. The proportion of civilian casualties to total casualties from July to August has decreased, from 75% in July to 57% in August. Sources: Syrian Observatory of Human Rights, Daily Sabah

Education

In August 2021 in Syria, two incidents of explosive weapon use affecting the provision of education were recorded. A school in Aleppo governorate and another in Daraa were damaged by ground-launched explosive weapons. Sources: SNHR I and SNHR II

Healthcare

On 30 August 2021, in Dara’a governorate of Syria, the Al Shifa Hospital, the National Hospital and a school were hit by mortars, causing minor structural damage. Source: OCHA Syria

Thailand

August 2021

There were four incidents of explosive weapon use in Thailand in August 2021, resulting in two civilian casualties and thirteen armed actor casualties. On 9 August, two rubber plantation workers, including one woman, were injured when they stepped on a victim-activated device in Sungai Padi, Narathiwat, in Thailand’s southern peninsula. 

Source: Thaiger

Ukraine

August 2021

There were 12 incidents of explosive weapon use in Ukraine in August 2021, causing seven civilian casualties and 25 armed actor casualties. Of the civilian casualties, six were killed and one was injured. This is a notable increase from July 2021, in which one civilian was wounded.  The worst incident for civilian casualties in August took place on the 13th, when three civilians were killed, along with four armed actors, when intoxicated DPR soldiers got into a fight in an entertainment venue and detonated a grenade. Firearms were also used. Source: Interfax Ukraine

Yemen

August 2021

In August 2021 there were seven incidents of explosive weapon use recorded, 13 civilian casualties and 136 armed actor casualties. The number of civilian casualties in August decreased markedly from 115 in July. Nine of the 13 civilian casualties in August were caused by ground launched weapons, specifically artillery shelling, and the remaining four were caused by directly emplaced weapons, specifically a car bomb. All civilian casualties took place in populated areas: nine in urban residential areas and four at a market. Nine of the 13 civilian casualties, including two fatalities, were caused by artillery shelling by Saudi Arabian forces, across three separate incidents in the Saada region.

The worst incident of explosive weapon use for civilian casualties this month took place on 14 August, when four civilians were injured and three armed actors killed in a car bombing at a market in Dar Saad, Aden. 

Sources: GardaWorld, N Gulf


Annual count 2021

Recorded casualties

2,500 2,250 2,000 1,750 1,500 1,250 1,000 750 500 250 0 Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec Civilian deaths and injuries in populated areas Civilian deaths and injuries in unpopulated areas Armed actors deaths and injuries in populated areas Armed actors deaths and injuries in unpopulated areas

Recorded incidents affecting aid access, education and healthcare

Aid Education Healthcare 80 90 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec

Explosive Weapons Type

Air-launched Ground-launched Directly emplaced Combination 1 , 847 Civilian casualties 11 Aid access incidents 5 Aid access incidents 8 Aid access incidents 0 Aid access incidents 11 Education incidents 13 Education incidents 84 Education incidents 1 Education incidents 23 Healthcare incidents 9 Healthcare incidents 18 Healthcare incidents 0 Healthcare incidents 2 , 223 Civilian casualties 3,957 Civilian casualties 310 Civilian casualties Recorded incidents between 1 January and 31 August 2021 75% of total 65% of total 44% of total 84% of total