Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Record Civilian Death Levels

KABUL 10 Feb. - The number of Afghan civilians killed in armed conflict rose 40 per cent last year to a record 2118 people, the United Nations said in a report.

The United States, Nato and Afghan forces killed 829 civilians, or 39 per cent. About 130 deaths couldn't be accounted for because of issues such as crossfire.
Civilian deaths have been a huge source of friction between the US and President Hamid Karzai, who has increased demands that US and Nato troops avoid killing civilians during operations.
The UN's annual report on the protection of civilians noted that despite new battlefield rules meant to reduce civilian casualties, US, Nato and Afghan troops killed 31 per cent more civilians in 2008 than in 2007, when the UN said those forces killed 629 civilians.

A US-based group that advocates for civilians in conflict said that "the lack of a clear, co-ordinated strategy to address civilian losses has been a leading source of anger and resentment toward military forces". The international coalition in Afghanistan is losing public support," the Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict said.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Aussies Join in The Carnage

Australian special forces soldiers have killed five children in an attack on a 'compound' in Afghanistan. The incident has triggered yet another strong warning from the Afghan Government that civilian deaths are playing into the hands of the Taliban.
Afghan ambassador Amanullah Jayhoon said his Government was very concerned that the Australians had not co-ordinated the operation with Afghan security forces.
The ambassador said 1000 civilians were killed by Coalition forces last year and such killings were eroding support for the Afghan Government.

The Australian Defence Force chief of joint operations, Lieutenant-General Mark Evans, said the soldiers were involved in an operation in Oruzgan province, southern Afghanistan, in darkness early on Thursday. He said 'tragically some civilians were killed'. Couldn't have foreseen that 'tragedy', eh, General. It's not the first you will preside over or the last.