UN says Afghan Civilian Deaths Fall for First Time in Five Years

Posted August 8th, 2012 at 9:10 am (UTC-5)
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U.N. officials say civilian casualties in Afghanistan have declined by 15 percent in the first half of this year, the first time the number has fallen since 2007.

The U.N. Mission in Afghanistan says anti-government elements were responsible for 80 percent of the casualties, mainly due to improvised explosive devices. Afghan and NATO forces accounted for 10 percent, while the final 10 percent of the total could not be attributed to any party.

The U.N. mission's Nicholas Haysom said his organization welcomes the reduction, but that Afghans are still being killed and injured at an “alarming rate.”

The latest civilian casualty occurred Wednesday when Afghan officials said a pair of suicide bombers targeted a NATO foot patrol in the capital of Kunar province , killing three coalition troops and at least one Afghan civilian. The attack wounded three other civilians. The Taliban claimed responsibility.

A NATO statement said the troops died after an insurgent attack in eastern Afghanistan, but gave no further details and did not release their nationalities.