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

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Studentsi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
March 05, 2015 9:04 PM
The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More