AFGHAN CIVILIANS REPORTEDLY KILLED MORE BY U.S., NATO THAN INSURGENTS
U.S.-led coalition and NATO forces fighting insurgents in Afghanistan have killed at least 203 civilians so far this year – surpassing the 178 civilians killed in militant attacks, according to an Associated Press tally.
Insurgency attacks and military operations have surged in recent weeks, and in the past 10 days, more than 90 civilians have been killed by airstrikes and artillery fire targeting Taliban insurgents, said President Hamid Karzai.
On Sunday, another civilian may have been killed when British troops opened fire in a populated area after their convoy was hit by a roadside bomb, officials and witnesses said.
Separate figures from the U.N. and an umbrella organization of Afghan and international aid groups show that the numbers of civilians killed by international forces is approximately equal to those killed by insurgents.
After a seething speech by Karzai on Saturday – in which he accused NATO and U.S. forces of viewing Afghan lives as “cheap” – NATO conceded that it had to “do better.” Coalition spokesman Maj. Chris Belcher suggested that some civilians reportedly killed by foreign forces may in fact have been killed by insurgents.
“One of the problems is sometimes determining who exactly caused the casualties. It’s not always clear if a civilian casualty is caused by an extremist or coalition forces,” Belcher said.