The UN's annual report on civilian casualties in Afghanistan is out, and it brings welcome news: civilian deaths are down, the first decline in six years. It's a byproduct of the war slowing down, but also reflects an effort to reduce civilian deaths, particularly at the hands of airstrikes. Findings, from the New York Times and Reuters:
- In 2012, the number of civilians killed was 2,754. That was down from 3,131 in 2011.
- But in that same time frame, the number injured rose from 4,507 to 4,805.
- The Taliban or other insurgent groups were responsible for about 81% of those casualties, a 9% increase from 2011.
- Another 8% of the casualties were caused by NATO, Afghan forces, and other pro-government forces, a drop of 46% from the year prior. The remaining casualties could not be attributed to either side.
- Main causes of the deaths were IEDs, which killed 868, and targeted killings, which resulted in 698 deaths—the latter is a 108% increase over 2011.
- More women and girls were killed or hurt in 2012, with 864 making the list, a 20% increase. More than 300 of those were deaths.