The first six months of this year has been the deadliest for civilians since the assault and occupation beginning in 2001. That is according to figures released this morning by the United Nations. The report shows a dramatic increase in civilian deaths and injuries – up by 31 percent in the first six months of 2010.
This May was the deadliest month for civilians since the UN began documenting civilian casualties in 2007, with 368 civilian deaths, followed by June with 360 civilian deaths. The previous high was August 2010 when 350 civilians were killed.
June also saw an all-time high in the number of security incidents recorded in a single month and the highest number ever of IED attacks recorded in a one-month period. (Click here for a transcript of the press conference statement)
Starting in 2009, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) began to document and publish details about the violence against civilians in Afghanistan every six months. Each six month report has shown an increase in violence against civilians. It is important to note that the beginning of the reporting cycle started with levels of violence higher than at any point since 2001. Irrefutable evidence that violence against civilians is increasing.
Here is how they defined general trends in the first mid-year report of June 2009.
"Armed conflict in Afghanistan intensified significantly after 2005, with insurgent/AGE attacks and operations by PGF encroaching into more areas of the country. As the conflict has widened and deepened throughout 2007, 2008 and into 2009, almost a third of the country is now directly affected by insurgent activities with differing intensity."
Annual Report 2009
"The intensification and spread of the armed conflict in Afghanistan continued to take a heavy toll on civilians throughout 2009. At least 5,978 civilians were killed and injured in 2009, the highest number of civilian casualties recorded since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001."
"The human cost of the armed conflict in Afghanistan is escalating in 2010. In the first six months of the year civilian casualties – including deaths and injuries of civilians - increased by 31 per cent over the same period in 2009."
Annual report 2010
"The human cost of the armed conflict in Afghanistan grew in 2010. The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission and UNAMA Human Rights recorded 2,777 civilian deaths in 2010, an increase of 15 per cent compared to 2009. Over the past four years, 8,832 civilians have been killed in the conflict, with civilian deaths increasing each year."
"UNAMA documented 1,462 civilian deaths in the first six months of 2011, an increase of 15 percent over the same period in 2010. The main trends that led to rising civilian casualties in early 2011 were increased and widespread use of improvised explosive devices, more complex suicide attacks, an intensified campaign of targeted killings, increased ground fighting, and a rise in civilian deaths from air strikes, particularly by Apache helicopters."