Kabul: More than 1,300 civilians have been
killed in Afghanistan so far this year, mostly by Taliban
insurgents, a leading Afghan rights group said on Sunday.
Taliban militants were responsible for about 68 per cent
of the 1,325 deaths while Afghan and NATO troops were to blame
for 23 percent, Afghanistan`s Independent Human Rights
Violent but "unknown factors" killed the rest, it said.
The new toll shows a five percent increase over the same
period last year, the group said, citing a nationwide count of
civilian casualties by its regional offices, senior
commissioner Nader Nadery told reporters.
Most of the casualties caused by the insurgents were
killed by improvised explosive devices, the Taliban`s weapon
of choice which is also responsible for most military deaths
Nadery said fewer people had died in NATO-led air strikes
but more had been killed in rocket attacks targeting
insurgents, but he did not give figures.
Civilian casualties have become a critical issue in the
nearly nine-year Afghan war and reducing the number of such
incidents is seen as crucial to a US-led counter-insurgency
strategy designed to end the conflict.