Taliban reject UN report on civilian casualties
The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) on Saturday released its report on civilian casualties in the Afghan conflict, saying the casualties rose for the fifth year in a row.
As many as 3,021 Afghan civilians were killed in 2011, compared with 2,790 in 2010 and 2,412 in 2009.
The report said most of the deaths were caused by insurgents, saying improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were used more widely and suicide attacks had become deadlier.
However, civilian deaths in air strikes in support of Afghan government rose in 2011, it said.
“The 2011 Annual Report on Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict” said total 11,864 civilians were killed in Afghanistan since 2007.
The Taliban said the UN had always tried to provide a legal cover to the activities of foreign troops. In a statement, the rebels said the UN often preferred political stance over humanitarian one.
"The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan reminds the UN not to damage its reputation for the sake of US interests and say the truth," the statement said, adding some major incidents of civilian deaths in foreign troops operations had been confirmed by the Afghan government itself.
On the other hand, the NATO-led the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) welcomed the UN report, saying ISAF had taken a number of measures to protect civilians during armed conflict over the past year.
Gen. John R. Allen, the ISAF commander in Afghanistan, welcomed the UNAMA report that showed decline in civilian casualties at the hands of foreign forces.
“Every citizen of Afghanistan must know, ISAF will continue to do everything possible, to reduce casualties which affect Afghan civilian," ISAF Commander said in a statement.
"I will continue to direct each member of the coalition to work to drive the number of ISAF-caused civilian casualties to zero," the statement quoted Allen as saying.
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