Afghan toll falls for first time in five years: UN
THE number of Afghan civilians killed in the first six months of the year has fallen by almost a fifth on the same period last year, the United Nations reported yesterday.
It is the first drop since UN records began in 2007. A spokesman said it reflected a decline in the numbers killed by insurgents’ homemade bombs and suicide attacks.
Even so, officials cautioned that fighting had started to pick up in May and that civilian casualties were rising.
Overall, 1,145 civilians were killed between January and June, according to the report. That was down from 1,462 in the first six months of 2011. Injuries to civilians caught in crossfire also fell.
“The drop in civilian casualties is a trend that seems to be hollow, as the percentage decline has fallen consistently over the last three months as the fighting season has intensified,” said James Rodehaver, head of human rights for the UN mission in Afghanistan.
In May, the UN said that civilian deaths dropped 36 per cent in the first four months of 2012 compared with 2011, but cautioned that much of the reduction was probably due to a particularly harsh winter that decreased fighting overall.
This spring and summer have been particularly violent, with insurgent attacks up significantly in May and June compared with last year, according to data from Nato forces in the country.
June marked the highest number of militant attacks in one month since September 2010, according to the data. The UN report did not break out the May-June period in its report.
The UN said targeting of places frequented by women and children had increased, with schools being singled out by insurgents. “Additional measures must be taken to protect civilians and ensure protection of their fundamental human rights,” the report said.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Tuesday 21 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 3 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: North west