Moral Low Ground

War & Peace

2010 was Deadliest Year for Afghan Civilians

March 9, 2011 by Brett Wilkins in War on Terror with 0 Comments

Oops! Our bad… innocent victim of NATO bombs.

A new United Nations report says that 2010 was the deadliest year for Afghan civilians since the American-led war against the Taliban and al-Qaeda began more than nine years ago. The UN mission in Afghanistan says 2,777 civilians died in 2010, a 15% increase from the previous year, with about 3/4 of those people killed by insurgents. Hundreds of those died in suicide attacks or roadside bombings. The report also noted a surge in assassinations of government officials, tribal elders and other important figures. Those who cooperate with the NATO invaders or the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, seen by insurgents as an American stooge, faced an increased risk of death.

According to the Los Angeles Times, civilian deaths in 2010 were concentrated in the principal conflict areas in the south and east. But there were deaths in all regions of the country, with an alarming spike in areas once considered relatively safe, like the north.

Despite a recent wave of high-profile killings of innocent Afghan civilians, such as the nine young boys hunted down and slaughtered by US helicopter gunships as they gathered firewood in a tragic case of mistaken identity, or the 64 civilians killed in Kunar province, the proportion of deaths caused by foreign military forces has decreased for the second straight year. It now stands at 26%.

Ivan Simonovic, UN assistant secretary-general for human rights, called the record number of civilian deaths last year “deeply disturbing.” Life expectancy in the war-torn country is a shocking 45 years. And with the coming spring thaw, fighting between the Taliban and NATO forces will in all likelihood intensify, adding more numbers to the tragic figure of innocent Afghans killed by both sides.

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