Sunday, August 21, 2011

UN: Deadliest six months for Afghan civilians

The first half of 2011 has been the deadliest six months for civilians in Afghanistan since the decade-old war began, according to the United Nations mission in the country.

The number of civilians killed from January to June 2011 rose 15 per cent compared to the same period last year, said a report by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) on Thursday.

"The rising tide of violence and bloodshed in the first half of 2011 brought injury and death to Afghan civilians at levels without recorded precedent in the current armed conflict," the report said.

It added that plans to hand over security in parts of the country helped fuel the rise in casualties.

"Violence rose as (anti-government fighters) sought to demonstrate that Afghan security forces could not manage security on their own," the report said.

The mission said 1,462 civilians had been killed in conflict-related incidents.

It attributed the rise to a wide range of increased violence, including a greater use of improvised bombs, suicide attacks and targeted killings, as well as more ground fighting and a rise in casualties from NATO air strikes.

The annual mid-year report said anti-government fighters accounted for 80 per cent of all deaths. more