Afghan civilian deaths in 2009 were most since 2001 invasion: U.N. report

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New York, Jan 14(ANI): A United Nations (U.N.) report has said that more Afghans were killed in their country's bloody insurgency in 2009, the most since the U.S.-led invasion eight years ago, largely due to the Taliban's use of indiscriminate roadside bombs and suicide attackers.

The report by the human rights division of the U.N. mission in Afghanistan was released on Wednesday and came as at least six civilians were shot dead in Helmand and a series of bomb attacks around the country killed or wounded bystanders.

According to the U.N., at least 2,412 civilians were killed last year and 3,566 others were wounded as a direct result of the war between Taliban-led insurgents and the Government.

It also illustrated the extraordinary dangers faced by Afghan civilians in their daily lives, as the overall toll represented a 14 per cent increase in war-related civilian fatalities from 2008.

In cities, towns and villages across the country, the pace of suicide attacks and roadside bombings has accelerated steadily, and ordinary activities such as driving to work or shopping in a street market have become increasingly perilous, the report said.

"These suicide attacks and roadside bombs most often kill innocent Afghans, not international forces. They are not in the way of Islam and they are against international law. This indiscriminate disregard for lives must stop," The Independent quoted Mudassir Rasuli, an Afghan human rights advocate, as saying.

Meanwhile, the report also found that civilian deaths caused by Western troops fell 28 per cent last year, a vindication of US General Stanley McChrystal's policy of restricting the use of air strikes as part of his reinvigorated hearts-and-minds campaign. (ANI)

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