News / Asia

    UN: Civilian Death Toll in Afghanistan Last Year Highest Since 2001

    Ayaz Gul

    A U.N. report says the number of civilians killed in Afghanistan last year was higher than in any year since the U.S.-led coalition dislodged the Taliban in 2001 for harboring the al-Qaida terror network. The report says more than 2,400 civilians fell victim to the war-related incidents in 2009.

    Chief human-rights officer at the United Nations mission in Kabul, Norah Niland, released the annual findings to reporters in Kabul.

    She says non-combatant casualties went up 14 percent in 2009, describing it as the most deadly year for Afghan civilians since the conflict began.

    While blaming Taliban insurgents for causing two-thirds of the civilian deaths, the U.N. officer says foreign and local forces were still responsible for a quarter of the non-combatant deaths during in anti-insurgency operations.

    "What the overall figure shows is that now the proportion of deaths attributed to the armed opposition has gone up to 67 percent.  What we found also from our research in 2009 is that the biggest killer is the combination of IED (Improvised Explosive Device) and suicide attacks. So this is an occasion to appeal to all of the conflicting parties to take measures to reduce harm to civilians," said Niland.

    The United Nations report acknowledges that non-combatant casualties in the anti-insurgency actions by international forces dropped by 30 percent in the previous year.  Observers say the reduction of civilian deaths in anti-insurgency operations in Afghanistan will be good news for the U.S military. 

    When he took over in the middle of the of last year as the commander of the NATO and American forces in the country, U.S General Stanley McChrystal promised his strategy will be to protect more Afghan civilians than killing more insurgents.

    The year 2009 saw the highest number of deaths among international forces, particularly for the United States and Britain.  Both the countries lost more than twice as many soldiers as in any previous year. 

    The United States and NATO forces are in the process of deploying a further 37,000 troops in Afghanistan to try defeat the Taliban insurgency and stabilize the country.  There are fears the troop surge will lead to more casualties in Afghanistan.

    But speaking in neighboring Pakistan, U.S special envoy for the two countries, Richard Holbrooke, reiterated that the Washington is also intensifying political and economic efforts.

    "When military troops move into an area controlled by the Taliban and they clear the Taliban of the area, it is important to restore the services to the people, education, health, justice, roads, schools and administration.  And international civilian advisors, including many Americans, have been assigned this job.  So there has been a tripling of American civilians in Afghanistan in the last year," said Holbrooke.

    A few days ago the non-governmental organization, the Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies, reported more than 3,000 civilian deaths during 2009 in Pakistan.  The country's security forces are battling local Taliban militants,  fugitive Afghans and al-Qaida extremists to help U.S led coalition secure tribal areas lining Pakistan's border with Afghanistan.  Militants have retaliated with suicide and other terrorist attacks across Pakistan. 

     

    You May Like

    Native Americans Ask: What About Our Water Supply?

    They say they have been facing a dangerous water contaminant for decades - uranium – but the problem has received far less attention than water contamination by lead in Flint, Michigan

    Pakistan's President Urges Nation Not to Celebrate Valentine's Day

    Mamnoon Hussain criticizes Valentine's Day, which falls on Sunday this year, as a Western import that threatens to undermine the Islamic values of Pakistan

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.