According to statistics compiled by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), the Taliban have intensified their attacks against civilians while Coalition and Afghan forces have dramatically reduced the number of civilian deaths. Over the past six months, the Taliban have caused 76 percent of the civilian deaths in Afghanistan, while Coalition and Afghan forces have been responsible for just 12 percent of the civilian deaths.
The Taliban have stepped up attacks against civilians with targeted assassinations of “teachers, nurses, doctors, tribal elders, community leaders, provincial and district officials, other civilians including children, and civilians working for international military forces and international organizations.” Read the full UN report, portions of which are excerpted below, as well as some commentary by me on this topic at The Weekly Standard.
Among those killed or injured by the Taliban and other AGEs were 55 per cent more children than in 2009, along with six per cent more women. Casualties attributed to Pro-Government Forces (PGF) fell 30 per cent during the same period, driven by a 64 per cent decline in deaths and injuries caused by aerial attacks.
“Afghan children and women are increasingly bearing the brunt of this conflict. They are being killed and injured in their homes and communities in greater numbers than ever before,” said Staffan de Mistura, Special Representative of the Secretary-General.
From 1 January to 30 June 2010, UNAMA Human Rights Unit documented 3,268 civilian casualties including 1,271 deaths and 1,997 injuries. AGEs were responsible for 2,477 casualties (76 per cent of all casualties, up 53 per cent from 2009) while 386 were attributed to PGF activities (12 per cent of all casualties, down 30 per cent from 2009).
Analysis by UNAMA Human Rights Unit identified two critical developments that increased harm to civilians in the first six months of 2010 compared to 2009: AGEs used a greater number of larger and more sophisticated improvised explosive devices (IEDs) throughout the country; and, the number of civilians assassinated and executed by AGEs rose by more than 95 per cent and included public executions of children…
IEDs and suicide attacks killed 557 Afghans and injured 1,137 in the first six months of 2010. IEDs alone accounted for 29 per cent of all civilian deaths in the period, including 74 children, a 155 per cent increase in IED-related deaths of children in the same span in 2009.
Aerial attacks by the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) remained the most harmful PGF tactic, causing 69 of the 223 civilian deaths attributed to PGF in the first six months of 2010 (31 per cent) and injuring 45 Afghan civilians. However, civilian deaths caused by PGF aerial attacks decreased 64 per cent from the same period in 2009, reflecting growing implementation of ISAF’s July 2009 Tactical Directive regulating the use of air strikes and other measures to reduce civilian casualties.
On a regional basis, civilian casualties grew the most in southern Afghanistan in the first six months of 2010. More than half of assassinations and executions occurred in the southern region, where more than one hundred Afghan civilians were killed in such incidents. Overall, conflict-related civilian deaths in the south increased by 43 per cent. Civilians assassinated and executed included teachers, nurses, doctors, tribal elders, community leaders, provincial and district officials, other civilians including children, and civilians working for international military forces and international organizations.
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