Civilian deaths caused by airstrikes up: ISAF
KABUL (PAN): Civilian deaths caused by NATO-led airstrikes increased from 57 to 67, or by 18 percent, over the past eight month, compared to the same period of 2010, a spokesman for the International Security Assistance Force said on Thursday.
A day earlier, the United Nations said that Afghanistan had emerged as more insecure during the current year, with a sharp spike in security incidents and numbers of civilian casualties, civilian displacement and complex suicide attacks.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his report to the Security Council that the number of security incidents during the first eight months of the year was nearly 40 percent higher than in the corresponding period of 2010.
Civilian casualties, at an all-time high for the first half of the year, rose by five percent in the June-August period compared with last year, with militants linked to three quarters of the deaths and injuries, the UN report said.
But an ISAF official told reporters in Kabul on Thursday that rebel-initiated attacks from June through August were 39 percent lower, compared to the same period last year, in the southwest and 12 percent lower in the south.
"Regional Command East continues to present a challenging security situation, and enemy-initiated attacks during the period were 17% higher than the same period in 2010. Some of this increase in violence is due to clearing operations as well as insurgent support emanating from Pakistan."
Carsten Jacobson, who also referred to differences between UN and ISAF systems of reporting security incidents, said complex and coordinated attacks were 29 percent lower than the same period in 2010. These attacks reported during the period June to August 2011 were 33% lower than the same period in 2010.
The UN category of security incidents included a wide range of events as contrasted in ISAF’s significant activity reports, he explained, saying the world body counted a number of additional event types that ISAF did not include in its definition of security incidents.
"The bottom line on this is that the UN and ISAF security data differs in category, collection coverage and magnitude. These differences have resulted in varying conclusions about the security situation in Afghanistan," he concluded.
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