Afghan Civilian Deaths Hit New High
More than 3K killed, mostly by Taliban
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 4, 2012 7:00 AM CST
Villagers carry coffins containing the bodies of two Afghans, allegedly killed in a NATO operation, in Surkhroad, Nangarhar province east of Kabul, in November.   (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

(Newser) – Last year was the worst for violence against Afghan civilians since the UN started keeping track five years ago, with 3,021 killed, according to the AP. The UN report attributed the 8% rise in civilian killings to a surge in roadside bombs and suicide attacks by insurgents, with Taliban-affiliated militants responsible for more than 75% of those killings. It is the fifth straight year that the civilian death toll has gone up, and last year that number was nearly twice as high as in 2007.

Suicide attacks accounted for the biggest jump, rising 80% to 450 last year. "Afghan children, women and men continue to be killed in this war in ever-increasing numbers," said a UN official. "For much too long, Afghan civilians have paid the highest price of war." Last year was the second-deadliest for NATO troops since the war started a decade ago, with 544 international forces killed.