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Taliban Derides UN Civilian Casualty Report as 'Propaganda'

Afghan police keep watch after a suicide attack by two Taliban suicide bombers in Kabul killed five and wounded nine, Dec 19, 2010 (File Photo)

The Taliban has rejected a United Nations report on civilian causalities in Afghanistan, calling it "propaganda" and "one-sided."

The U.N. report, released earlier this month, blames the Taliban and other "anti-government elements" for 76 percent of civilian casualties in Afghanistan.

The militant group sent an email to reporters Wednesday saying the report was biased and influenced by "U.S. politics."

The U.N. figures show deaths and injuries caused by "pro-government forces" - which include U.S. and NATO troops, as well as the Afghan army and police - account for 12 percent of civilian casualties. Those numbers, which are released quarterly, show an 18-percent drop from the same time period last year.

Meanwhile, NATO forces said Wednesday seven Afghan children were injured by an improvised explosive device blast in southern Hemland province. Security officials said the children were taken to a NATO medical center.

NATO said Tuesday it had begun an investigation into whether five Afghan civilians were killed in a combat operation. Coalition forces say they discovered the bodies of the civilians after exchanging fire with insurgents who fired on coalition troops from a compound in Helmand province.

These developments comes as the U.N. released figures that show civilian casualties rose by 20 percent during the first 10 months of 2010.

This year is the deadliest so far for U.S. troops, with at least 486 Americans killed, compared to 317 in 2009 and 155 in 2008. Nearly 700 NATO troops have been killed so far this year, making 2010 the deadliest year yet for coalition troops in Afghanistan.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.