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Thursday
Mar102011

Report: Afghan Civilians More than Ever in the Line of Fire

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Civilian casualties in Afghanistan rose substantially during 2010, according to a new United Nations report detailing the human cost of the nearly ten-year-long war.

The annual report on civilian deaths showed 2,777 fatalities last year, an increase of 15 percent from the previous 12 months.

Three-quarters of the fatalities were due to the Taliban, which increased assassinations, suicide attacks and roadside bombings in 2010.  Militants are less reluctant to go after better-equipped allied troops and instead focus mostly on Afghan security forces or civilians.

About 16 percent of civilian deaths were blamed on either U.S. or NATO soldiers while the remaining nine percent of casualties could not be attributed.

The Afghan government has been sharply critical of the coalition over so-called "friendly fire" deaths.  Last week, nine boys were accidentally killed in an air strike that was meant to target insurgents.

Despite the condemnation, the U.S. military has gone out of its way to reduce civilian casualties, which dropped 26 percent from 2009.

Most of the deaths caused by the Taliban are from suicide bombings and makeshift explosives, although the group increased its assassinations of civilians in 2010 in an effort to destabilize the central government.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio