News / Asia

UN Says Civilian Death Rate in Afghanistan is Unacceptable

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.
x
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.
TEXT SIZE - +
Larry Freund
NEW YORK - The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) says civilian casualties from the Afghan conflict remain at "unacceptably high levels" despite a 21-percent drop in conflict-related deaths during the first four months of this year.

In a report released Thursday, UNAMA said 2011 marked the fifth year in a row in which civilian casualties increased in Afghanistan. The group said it documented more than 3,000 civilian deaths last year, three-quarters linked to violence by anti-government forces.

The continued violence has raised concerns about the ability of Afghan forces to handle security beyond 2014, when most NATO forces are planning to conclude their combat role.

Brookings Institution Foreign Policy Senior Fellow Michael O'Hanlon says he does not expect a significant decrease in the conflict-related deaths in the near future.

"I am just not persuaded that there is any realistic hope that the numbers are going to go down that much in the next two or three years," said O'Hanlon. "I think that unless the Taliban decides to be serious about peace talks, we are probably going to have to hope the numbers just don't get much worse as we carry out a transition to primary Afghan responsibility for security throughout the country."

UNAMA said improvised explosive devices (IED's), used by anti-government forces, were the single largest killer of civilians, accounting for one-third of the deaths.

On Wednesday, the group said it had documented 579 civilian deaths for the first four months of 2012, a one-fifth decrease compared to the same time last year. However, it said the region's harsh winter may have contributed to the decrease.

Meanwhile, Afghan officials say explosions killed at least seven police officers on Thursday.

A spokesman for the provincial governor in Kandahar  province says a car bombing at a police checkpoint in Argistan killed at least five officers.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Kandahar is the birthplace of the Taliban, which earlier this month announced the start of a spring offensive.

Afghan officials say a second explosion at a checkpoint in Jalalabad killed two police officers.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid