U.N. finds rise in Afghan civilian deaths

March 10, 2011 at 1:50 PM
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KABUL, Afghanistan, March 10 (UPI) -- More than 8,000 civilians were killed in Afghanistan during the last four years and those numbers aren't improving, a U.N. report on armed conflict found.

An annual report by the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan and the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission stated that 2,777 civilians were killed in conflict-related incidents in 2010. That is a 15 percent increase over the previous year.

Georgette Gagnon, a human rights official at UNAMA, said in a statement that trends in Afghanistan were troubling.

"2011 should be a year of escalating civilian protection, not another year of increasing civilian casualties," she said.

There were 8,832 civilians killed in conflict in Afghanistan during the past four years. The report noted that 462 civilians were killed by insurgents last year, up more than 100 percent from the previous year.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai expressed frustration over reports international forces killed several Afghan children in recent military operations. U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus, the top military commander in Afghanistan, apologized personally to the Afghan president for the accident.

Karzai in a statement quoted by CNN said the apology wasn't enough to allay public concerns about the international military role in his country.

Meanwhile, The Guardian newspaper in London reports that NATO forces accidentally killed a cousin of the Afghan president in a botched operation in Kandahar province.

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