News / Asia

UN: Civilian Casualties Drop in Afghanistan

An Afghan girl washing clothes in a river looks at a US Army soldier in the town of Senjaray, southern Afghanistan May 29, 2012.
An Afghan girl washing clothes in a river looks at a US Army soldier in the town of Senjaray, southern Afghanistan May 29, 2012.
Sharon Behn
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - The United Nations says civilian casualties in Afghanistan have dropped by more than 20 percent in the first four months of this year as compared to the same period in 2011.

It is the first time in five years that civilian casualty numbers have gone down. The news comes as international troops are preparing to withdraw from the country and Afghan forces start to take over responsibility for the nation's security.

Speaking at a news conference in Kabul, the U.N.'s special representative to Afghanistan, Jan Kubis, said 579 civilians had been killed and 1,216 had been injured in the first four months of this year.

Kubis said insurgent forces were responsible for almost 80 percent of the dead and injured, the result of buried bombs and suicide attacks.

"These are two tactics or weapons that they are using that are indiscriminately killing everyone who is around. This is inexcusable," said Kubis.

Kubis added that pro-government forces were responsible for just nine percent of all civilian casualties, as they worked to reduce the impact of the war on civilians.


"And unfortunately, regretfully, the anti-government forces they don't show this respect for civilians," Kubis noted.

Another 12 percent of civilian casualties were not attributed.

Kubis' statements came just days after a coalition airstrike in the eastern province of Paktia killed eight members of a family. The area is one where Afghan and coalition troops are fighting the Taliban insurgency.

Deaths of Afghan civilians in anti-insurgency operations have been a major irritant between President Hamid Karzai's government and the U.S.-led NATO forces.

U.S. and other international combat troops are due to exit Afghanistan by 2014.

Kubis said that with the proper level of international help, Afghan forces will be able to secure their nation.

"Both military experts and the facts on the ground are telling me that, yes, the Afghan national security forces, provided they will get this continuous, strong massive support, financial support from the international community, should be able to deliver," Kubis said.

International donors are considering providing Afghanistan more than $4 billion to finance its national army and police.

But Kubis said that while Afghanistan remains a priority, major donor countries have budgetary problems of their own. He said the leadership in Kabul would have to do its share to improve governance in the country.

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid