Afghan Taliban call for joint probe into civilian deaths

Civilian casualties rose by 31 percent in first six months of 2010, says UN.

Kabul: The Taliban waging a vicious insurgency in Afghanistan have signalled a willingness to cooperate with international forces, the UN and human rights groups to investigate civilian deaths in the war.

A committee "should be formed to assess the very issue and conduct investigations into the civilian casualties across the country”, the Taliban said in a statement late Sunday.

The probe should include representatives from the Taliban -- calling itself the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan -- NATO forces, the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, and UN human rights organisations, the statement said.

The overwhelming majority of civilian deaths and injuries in the war, nearing the end of its ninth year, have been blamed on the Taliban.

The group relies largely on roadside bombs and suicide attackers, which kill and maim indiscriminately.

Civilian casualties rose by 31 percent in the first six months of 2010, the United Nations said last week, with casualties among children up 55 percent.

Bureau Report

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