Civilian deaths still rising in Afganistan

The number of civilians killed or injured in Afghanistan rose by 23 percent in the first six months of 2013. From January to June, the number of civilians killed in war-related violence rose to 1,319 from 1,158 a year earlier. In the same period, 2,533 civilians were injured, compared with 1,976 in 2012. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/01/world/asia/civilian-casualties-in-afghanistan-rise-23-percent.html?ref=world&_r=0
The United Nations report found that improvised explosive devices accounted for more than a third of the civilian casualties in the first half of 2013, helping drive a 30 percent increase in injuries and deaths of children.
Meanwhile, the intensifying ground battles helped propel a 60 percent jump in casualties among women.
The Taliban rejected the report as little more than a tool of the American strategy. In addition to decrying the coalition’s responsibility for innocent Afghan deaths, the group took issue with what it viewed as the U.N.’s use of the word civilian to describe government employees, like judicial workers. “We don’t consider people civilians who are directly involved in our country’s occupation.”
In the last several months, the Taliban have condemned attacks that killed civilians, blaming the Afghan and coalition troops for using excessive force. In May, the group denied responsibility for — and condemned — an attack in Jalalabad on the International Committee of the Red Cross, an organization it sees as impartial.

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