The United Nations Monday gave a grim assessment of the risks to education and healthcare services in Afghanistan, with teachers and doctors targeted and infrastructure ruined by years of conflict.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and UNICEF documented hundreds of incidents affecting access to healthcare and education in a report that covers a three-year period from January 2013. 

Nicholas Haysom, the UN secretary-general's special representative in Afghanistan and head of UNAMA, described the situation as “deeply troubling.” 

“It is simply unacceptable for teachers, doctors and nurses to be subjected to violence or threats and for schools and medical facilities to be misused or attacked,” he said.

The report counted dozens of attacks against clinics, with the number of attacks in 2015 - as well as the number of health personnel killed or injured - more than doubling compared to previous year.

In the most high-profile such incident last year, a hospital run by charity Medecins Sans Frontieres was bombed by US forces in October, killing 42 people. The US said the strike was the result of human error.

At least 11 education workers were killed and 49 were kidnapped last year, the UN report said.

The violence forced the closure of around 370 educational institutions, affecting 139,000 students and 600 students, it added.

The situation was worse in southern Afghan provinces including Kandahar, Helmand, Ghazni, Zabul and Wardak, where Taliban insurgents were more active, according to the Education Ministry.

The increased activity of the Islamic State militant group has added to the level of violence in some areas, officials said.

 

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