• Afghan civilian casualties down, says UN

Afghan civilian casualties down, says UN

31 May 2012

The UN says the number of civilian casualties in Afghanistan dropped significantly during the first four months of this year.

The top UN envoy in Kabul,  Ján Kubiš, told a news conference that the number of civilian casualties dropped by 21 per cent between 1 January and the end of April compared with the same period last year.  However he added that deaths continued to occur at "unacceptable levels".

The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) says this was the first such reduction in civilian casualties since it began compiling figures in 2007.  It says that 79 per cent of this year's casualties were attributed to actions by anti-government forces and 9 per cent attributed to actions by pro-government forces.

However, the New York Times says the UN human rights officials are cautious about whether the reduction is sustainable, pointing out that this year's particularly harsh winter may have had an impact on fighting.

The Times says that the UN's mid year report, due in July,  "will give a better sense of the reasons for the reduction and whether it is mostly a reflection of the harsher winter weather and delayed fighting season".

Photo: Ján Kubiš  Copyright: UNAMA/Fardin Waezi

To read more on UN announcement click here