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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A UN Report is Bad News for Afghanistan

A long awaited report released today by the UN has detailed a sharp increase in the number of civilians killed in Afghanistan in the first six months of this year. The figure marked a 36% increase on the same period last year. About 76 of the casualities were caused by anti-Government forces.

The death toll for the  for the period stood at 1,271 with a further 1,997 injured, mainly in roadside bombings. The toll from NATO lead forces and pro-Government forces dropped 30% to 386 ,while the share for the Taliban rose from 53% to 76% according to the report. A spokesman for the Taliban has denied the claims.

An important statistic that came from the report was that child mortality rates rose by 55% to 179 over the same period last year, while 389 children were injured .Another shocking fact to come from the study was that public executions by insurgents rose by 95% due mainly to controlled areas in the South of the nation. These executions included the public execution of children.

The main reason for the drop in the civilian death tole was a limiting of the circumstances in which air strikes could be used. These had been the leading cause of civilian casualties by the US led invasion forces. The Afghan President Hamid Karzai has said the the biggest fuel for the insurgency has been the number of civilian casualties.

Last month the whistle blowing website Wiki leaks sourced a number of documents relating to the war. They stated that the number of civilian casualties was much higher than was previously reported in the media. Still according to the UN casualty figures have grown in 2008, 2009 and 2010. If this trend continues it would appear that we could be dealing with a more and more popular insurgency and an extended conflict and that is the last thing anyone wants.

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