Civilian Casualties in Afghan War Up 20%: UN
One bright spot in report: Deaths at hands of troops down 18%
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 24, 2010 5:29 AM CST
Paramedics carry an Afghan man.   (AP Photo/Allauddin Khan, File)

(Newser) – Grim statistics from the UN: In the first 10 months of 2010, the number of civilians killed or wounded in the Afghan war was up 20% over the same period last year. And "before it gets better, it may get worse," said the top UN envoy to the country, who says insurgents will likely stage high-profile attacks in coming months. The UN report found that 4,378 civilian deaths were linked to insurgents during that period, a 25% increase; 742 were killed or wounded by Afghan or international troops, an 18% decrease.

Of the the latter group, at least 162 were killed in US airstrikes, the leading cause of civilian deaths at the hands of NATO forces. The report also noted that assassinations hit an all-time high in August, and that suicide attacks were staged an average of three times a week. The number of NATO troops killed also hit a gloomy record: 705 this year, up from last year's record of 521, reports the Washington Post. The Taliban dismissed the report as "a propaganda stunt aimed at concealing American brutalities."