News / Asia

UN Reports Drop in Afghan Civilian Deaths

A man collects parts of a damaged bus which was hit by a remote control bomb on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan, August 7, 2012.
A man collects parts of a damaged bus which was hit by a remote control bomb on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan, August 7, 2012.
A U.N. report says civilian casualties in Afghanistan's conflict declined during the first half of this year, but another study shows Afghans believe their lives have not improved, with many saying they are struggling or suffering.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, or UNAMA, said Wednesday it documented 3,099 civilian casualties from January to June, a 15-percent drop from the same period in 2011. It said the decline reverses a trend in which civilian casualties had increased steadily in the previous five years.

x
UNAMA said the total casualties for the first half of 2012 include 1,145 civilians killed and 1,954 others wounded. Despite the decline, it said the level of casualties remains "devastating."

The U.N. report said anti-government forces were responsible for 80 percent of all civilian deaths and injuries, while Afghan government forces and their NATO allies were responsible for 10 percent. U.N. experts could not identify those responsible for the remaining 10 percent of casualties.

UNAMA attributed the decline in civilian casualties partly to a weakening of insurgent networks through military operations by pro-government forces. It said an "unseasonably harsh winter" also may have impeded the movement and operational capacity of insurgents in the first three months of this year.

x

The U.N. report said improvised explosive devices used by insurgents remain the leading cause of deaths among Afghan women and children. It condemned what it called the "indiscriminate" use of such bombs and demanded that insurgents immediately stop "deliberate" killings of civilians.

The U.N. mission also urged the Afghan government and NATO to increase efforts to ensure that Afghan security forces are "sufficiently trained, resourced,  (and) supported" to protect civilians, as NATO troops prepare to leave the country by 2014.

In another report published Wednesday, U.S. polling company Gallup said a recent survey of Afghans found that most people have a pessimistic outlook on life. In face-to-face interviews with 1,000 Afghans aged 15 and older in late April, Gallup found that 71 percent of respondents described themselves as "struggling," a slight increase over last year. It said 25 percent of respondents were classified as suffering, down from 30 percent in 2011.

The survey showed the percentage of Afghans describing themselves as "thriving" was steady at 4 percent.

Gallup said many Afghans are stressed and worried because of ongoing violence by Taliban militants and doubts about their future in a post-NATO Afghanistan.

Michael Lipin

Michael covers international news for VOA on the web, radio and TV, specializing in the Middle East and East Asia Pacific. Follow him on Twitter @Michael_Lipin

You May Like

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid