Increase in civilian casualties in Afghanistan: UN

United Nations: Noting that there is no decline in civilian casualties in Afghanistan, a UN report has said there has been a record 24 per cent increase in death of civilians in the country in the first six months of the current year as compared to the previous year, during the same period.

As the conflict in Afghanistan intensifies and spreads, it is taking an increasingly heavy toll on civilians, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said in a mid-year report on the situation of civilians in armed conflict, UN spokesman Farhan Haq said yesterday.

That report, compiled by UNAMA’s Human Rights Unit, recorded 1,013 civilian deaths in the first six months of 2009 -- a 24 per cent increase compared to the same period in 2008.

Between January and June of this year, about 59 per cent of civilian deaths were the responsibility of anti-government elements and 30.5 per cent were the responsibility of pro-government forces.

The report adds that air strikes remain the largest cause of civilian deaths attributed to pro-government forces during the first six months of 2009, resulting in the reported deaths of 200 civilians, he said.

Bureau Report