Afghan death toll declines, U.N. finds

Feb. 19, 2013 at 1:57 PM

KABUL, Afghanistan, Feb. 19 (UPI) -- Though the overall number of civilian deaths as a result of conflict in Afghanistan is down, they were increasingly the target of attacks, a U.N. report says.

The U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan reported a 12 percent drop in the number of civilian deaths from conflict in 2012 when compared to 2011 figures. The decline, the first in six years, was attributed to a decrease in the number of suicide attacks as well as efforts by international forces to avoid civilian causalities when fighting militants.

Jan Kubis, U.N. special envoy to Afghanistan, said the decrease in the number of civilian deaths was welcome news, though it was overshadowed by the continued use of improvised explosive devices.

"Steep increases in the deliberate targeting of civilians perceived to be supporting the government demonstrates another grave violation of international humanitarian law," he added. "Particularly appalling is the use of suicide attacks including those carried out by brainwashed children to murder civilians which is also a clear breach of the norms of Islam."

International forces are wrapping up their mission in Afghanistan after more than 10 years of engagements. Elections are planned for next year.

UNAMA reports that more than 80 percent of the civilian casualties were attributed to those fighting against Afghan and international forces.

Like Us on Facebook for more stories from UPI.com  
Related UPI Stories
Latest Headlines
Top Stories
Compact cannon for British armored vehicles
Texas man killed in apparent alligator attack
Police arrest N.C. soldier with assault rifle headed to mall photo shoot
North Korean biochemical weapons researcher defects to Europe
Four accused in slave-labor trafficking ring on Ohio egg farm