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Civilian Deaths in Afghanistan Down for First Time in Six Years

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- The number of civilians who died in Afghanistan has dropped for the first time in six years, according to the latest findings from the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

The U.N. report, released on Tuesday, found that 2,754 civilians were killed last year -- a 12 percent decrease from 2011.

The decline in casualties is due in part to:

  • Less ground fighting among parties involved in the conflict
  • A decrease in suicide bombings
  • Fewer aerial attacks
  • Steps taken by pro-government forces to minimize harm to civilians

Despite the drop in civilian deaths, the number of people injured rose 9 percent in 2012 to 4,805.

"The situation for civilians is still very difficult in many communities.  And many thousands of Afgans are affected by the armed conflict," says Georgette Gagnon, a U.N. human rights official.

"We are again calling on all concerned to redouble their efforts, increase their efforts, to protect civilians," Gagnon adds.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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