Thursday, February 19, 2009

Afghanistan: UN Reports Highest Annual Civillian Casualty Rate So Far in 2008

The Human Rights Unit of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) reported this week that 2008 saw the highest number of civilian casualties in the Afghan war so far. A total of 2,118 are reported to have been killed which is the highest recorded since the fall of the Taliban government in 2001.

This figure represents an increase of almost 40 per cent compared to 2007, when 1,523 people lost their lives in the conflict.

Of the 2,118 casualties reported between 1 January and 31 December 2008, 55 per cent of them were attributed to anti-government forces and 39 per cent to pro-government forces. The remaining 6% were not attributed. These data contrast with UN reports in 2007 which indicated that NATO led forces were responsible for the majority of civilian casualties.

The vast majority of the civilians killed by anti-government forces died as a result of suicide and improvised explosive devises.

Air-strikes were responsible for the largest percentage (64 per cent) of civilian deaths attributed to pro-government forces, with night-time raids being a continuing source of civilian deaths.