Home News Afghanistan Afghan Civilian Deaths on the Rise: UN Report

Afghan Civilian Deaths on the Rise: UN Report

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Download The United Nations has delivered a grim report showing civilian casualties in Afghanistan are worse than ever.

Almost 1500 civilians were killed in the first six months of this year, a 15 percent increase on the same time last year.

The civilian casualty report was released shortly before a suicide bomber blew himself up at a memorial service for the assassinated brother of President Hamid Karzai.

Sally Sara of Radio Australia reports.


The latest figures confirm that more Afghan civilians have been killed than in any other year of the war - 1462 died in the first half of this year, more than 80 per cent were killed by insurgents.

UN special representative in Afghanistan, Staffan de Mistura, has condemned the violence and called on all sides to respect the lives of civilians.

“These are not just figures, these are names, these are people, these are men, women, elder people, children. These are Afghan people.”

The report shows that homemade bombs, known as improvised explosive devices or IEDS are the most devastating weapon in the conflict.

Many of the IEDS are pressure plates set to trigger explosives. The plates are buried just below the surface.

The director of the UN Human Rights Unit in Afghanistan, Georgette Gagnon, says the pressure plate IEDS are deadly.

“This tactic of using these IEDS is a violation of the laws of war and humanitarian principles.”

Afghanistan's Independent Human Rights Commission says the real civilian casualty toll is much higher than the numbers published by the United Nations.

Commissioner, Nader Nadery, says the injured, bereaved and traumatised are not counted.

“These numbers are not demonstrating the real suffering that the population are going through. It's not just the body count.”

The United Nations report says Afghan and coalition forces were responsible for 18 percent of the civilian casualties in the first half of this year.

But Staffan de Mistura says the Taliban must still take responsibility for the majority of deaths.

“We have been in touch with the Talibans about the issue of civilian casualties and we are in touch with them.”

But it's not just the Taliban accused of taking lives. President Hamid Karzai has ordered an inquiry into claims that six civilians were killed in a NATO raid in the eastern province of Khost.

The local provincial council has gone on strike, to express its outrage at the deaths.

It's been a confronting  month for president Karzai with the president's brother being assassinated.

It was one violent act, layered on another. It showed the insurgents are still able to get through security barriers and target some of the highest profile political and tribal figures in the country.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 26 July 2011 10:27 )  

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