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

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid