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Jun 14th, 2011

For Afghan Civilians, May Was Grim Milestone

368 killed, 593 wounded highest since U.N. started tracking civilian casualties

Men try to carry a victim from the scene of a suicide attack in Jalalabad, Nangarhar province, on May 18, 2011. Afghan officials said at least 10 people were killed in a bomb attack on a police bus that was traveling to a police academy in eastern Afghanistan. (Photo credit: Rahmat Gul / AP)

By Patrick Quinn

June 12, 2011

KABUL, Afghanistan — May was the deadliest month for Afghan civilians since the United Nations started tracking deaths in 2007, according to a new report. The carnage continued, with bombs killing 21 people nationwide — including a family on a religious pilgrimage and a child lured by a suicide attacker pushing an ice cream cart.

Violence has been on the rise as the Taliban and other insurgents try to regain territory lost in the fall and winter to the U.S.-led coalition in southern Afghanistan. The insurgents have stepped up suicide attacks and bombings that are more likely to affect civilians. …

“We are very concerned that civilian suffering will increase even more over the summer fighting season, which historically brings the highest numbers of civilian casualties. Parties to the conflict must increase their efforts to protect civilians now,” said Georgette Gagnon, director of human rights for the U.N. mission in Afghanistan, on Saturday.

The U.N. said insurgents were responsible for 82 percent of the 368 civilians killed last month, with homemade bombs the leading cause of death. The international alliance and Afghan security forces were to blame for 12 percent of the deaths while it was not clear who was responsible for the remainder, according to the report. It also said 593 civilians were wounded last month.

NATO airstrikes, a frequent cause of tension between the Afghan government and the alliance, were behind 3 percent of civilian deaths, the report found.

Despite those findings, much of the public anger over civilian casualties has focused on the international force.

Last month, President Hamid Karzai ordered the alliance to stop bombing homes after an airstrike that accidentally killed a group of children and women in southern Helmand province. Coalition commanders apologized, saying the airstrike was launched after a gunbattle broke out following an insurgent attack on a patrol in the district that killed a U.S. Marine. …

The death toll for international troops rose only slightly in May, with 56 killed compared with 51 the same month last year, according to an Associated Press tally. …

The Taliban began its yearly spring offensive on April 30. The month that followed saw the most civilian deaths of any month since the U.N. started closely tracking casualties in 2007. Previously, the deadliest month was August 2008, with 341 deaths.

While the U.N. figures only go back to 2007, the monthly toll is likely the highest of the war because civilian casualties were not a major problem in its early years.

The international coalition has around 133,000 troops fighting in Afghanistan, including about 100,000 from the United States. On Saturday, NATO said a service member was killed in an insurgent attack in the south, bringing the total coalition deaths this month to 23. Since the start of the year, 229 have died. …

Full story


Related reports on this site

Karzai: U.S. ‘Occupying Force’ (May 31, 2011)

Imminent Afghan Spring Offensive (April 16, 2011)

Afghan Spring Offensive Looms (Feb. 8, 2011)

‘Making Enemies’ in Afghanistan (April 12, 2010)

Afghan Support for U.S. Plummets (Feb. 10, 2009)


FROM THE ARCHIVES: One Year Ago — June 14, 2010

Flag Day 2010

The Sartell Middle School Marching Sabres, host band for the Sartell SummerFest parade, make their way along the parade route on Riverside Drive, Saturday, June 12, 2010, with Elizabeth Immelman, 10, bearing the U.S. flag. (Photo credit: Kimm Anderson / St. Cloud Times)

One year ago today, on Flag Day, I reported that in 1916 President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation establishing June 14 as Flag Day, and that President Harry Truman made it official in 1949 when he signed legislation designating June 14 of each year as National Flag Day.


FROM THE ARCHIVES: Two Years Ago — June 14, 2009

OIF/OEF — U.S. Military Deaths

Marine Lance Cpl. Joshua R. Whittle, 20; Army Spc. Eduardo S. Silva, 25; Marine CWO2 Ricky L. Richardson Jr., 33; Army Staff Sgt. Edmond L. Lo, 23.

Two years ago today, on June 14, 2009, I provided my weekly report of U.S. military deaths in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan), compiled from U.S. Department of Defense News Releases.

3 Responses to “Civilian Carnage in Afghanistan”
  1. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » No Way Forward in Afghanistan Says:

    […] Civilian Carnage in Afghanistan (June 14, 2011) […]

  2. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » American Bloodshed Persists in Afghanistan Says:

    […] Civilian Carnage in Afghanistan (June 14, 2011) […]

  3. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Afghan Civilian Deaths Reach New Record High Says:

    […] Civilian Carnage in Afghanistan (June 14, 2011) […]

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