UN: Deaths Because of Taliban

Data released by the United Nations shows an increase in civilian deaths by terrorist forces in Afghanistan during the first 6 months of 2010.

Elad Benari, | updated: 03:08

NATO troops preparing for Taliban
NATO troops preparing for Taliban
Israel news photo: Wikimedia Commons

According to data released by the United Nations and reported in the UK Guardian on Tuesday, the number of civilians that have been killed or injured this year in fighting in Afghanistan has risen by nearly a third (31%).

The UN attributed this number to the Taliban's increasing use of homemade bombs and political assassinations. An example of this is a double suicide attack on Tuesday which targeted a western security company in a neighborhood of Kabul that has not been targeted in the past despite being home to many foreign organizations.

The UN report also noted that there has been a 30% drop in deaths and injuries caused by NATO forces in the first six months of 2010. In total, UN human rights workers recorded 1,271 civilian deaths over this period and 1,997 injuries. Taliban forces were responsible for 2,477 of those casualties, while NATO and Afghan government forces accounted for only 386.

The reason for the increase in civilian casualties is the use by insurgents of larger and more sophisticated bombs which are typically buried in roadsides and tracks to target NATO convoys and foot patrols. These bombs also kill and maim civilians. Another factor is the near doubling of the Taliban's use of assassinations to dissuade Afghans from working for the government or its international backers. According to the report, whereas assassinations averaged 3.6 a week last year, they are now running at one a day.

Aid workers being killed in Afghanistan is also a common occurrence. This past week, Dan Terry, a 63 year-old doctor from Janesville, Wisconsin was among 10 aid workers killed in Afghanistan. Terry’s group had just finished a two-week mission to northern Afghanistan, where they had provided medical care to villagers for years. They were stopped and shot execution-style, said a report on Channel3000.com.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attacks, saying the group was trying to convert Muslims to Christianity. 6 of the 10 workers killed were American. The White House called the deaths despicable and the aid group denied that it has any connection to missionary work .

Innocent civilians being brutally killed in Afghanistan sometimes occurs with no connection to the fighting. Afghan police said Monday that Taliban insurgents had flogged and publicly executed a pregnant Afghan widow for alleged adultery. According to authorities, Taliban militants had kept the woman in captivity for three days before her execution Sunday in a remote area of the country.  According to the report on Voice of America, she was first flogged 200 times and then shot in the head three times.  She had been found guilty by a Taliban court of having what was called an "illicit affair" that left her pregnant.

In a statement released on Monday, NATO condemned the killing and said that the "tragic, gruesome brutality is an example of Taliban justice."