The Taliban's responsibility for the vast majority of civilian deaths is perhaps the most underreported story from Afghanistan since the war began. A United Nations report, which was released today, shows that more than three-fourths (76 percent) of civilian deaths in Afghanistan over the past year have been caused by the Taliban (12 percent of the civilian deaths can be traced to Coalition forces):
Tactics of the Taliban and other Anti-Government Elements (AGEs) are behind a 31 per cent increase in conflict-related Afghan civilian casualties in the first six months of 2010 compared with the same period in 2009, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said today in releasing its 2010 Mid-Year Report on Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict...
From 1 January to 30 June 2010, UNAMA Human Rights Unit documented 3,268 civilian casualties including 1,271 deaths and 1,997 injuries. AGEs were responsible for 2,477 casualties (76 per cent of all casualties, up 53 per cent from 2009) while 386 were attributed to PGF activities (12 per cent of all casualties, down 30 per cent from 2009).
While some consider the report of Mullah Omar's directive to target civilians, including women, to be a fabrication of information operation by the U.S. military, the UN report tracks with Omar's directive. The following is from the UNAMA report:
Among those killed or injured by the Taliban and other AGEs were 55 per cent more children than in 2009, along with six per cent more women. Casualties attributed to Pro-Government Forces (PGF) fell 30 per cent during the same period, driven by a 64 per cent decline in deaths and injuries caused by aerial attacks.
“Afghan children and women are increasingly bearing the brunt of this conflict. They are being killed and injured in their homes and communities in greater numbers than ever before,” said Staffan de Mistura, Special Representative of the Secretary-General...
Analysis by UNAMA Human Rights Unit identified two critical developments that increased harm to civilians in the first six months of 2010 compared to 2009: AGEs used a greater number of larger and more sophisticated improvised explosive devices (IEDs) throughout the country; and, the number of civilians assassinated and executed by AGEs rose by more than 95 per cent and included public executions of children.
The Taliban provided two high-profile instances of their deliberate targeting of civilians in the past week: The execution of 10 members of a medical team in the north, and the flogging and murder of a pregnant woman in the province of Balkh.
Oddly enough, media outlets focus an enormous amount of energy on reporting the relatively few accidental deaths caused by Coalition forces, but put little emphasis on the deliberate murders inflicted on the Afghan people by the Taliban.