Afghan civilian casualties rise as NATO pulls out: UN

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KABUL: The number of civilians killed and wounded in Afghanistan’s war rose 14 percent last year with deaths almost reaching numbers recorded in 2011, the United Nations (UN) said on Saturday. Civilians killed or wounded in the crossfire of fighting between government and Taliban-led insurgent forces was a marked new trend in 2013, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said in its annual report. The UN report voiced concern at civilians suffering beatings, looting and even summary executions at the hands of Afghan forces. A total of 8,615 civilian casualties were recorded in 2013—2,959 killed and 5,656 wounded—up by 14 percent from 2012.The rise in deaths increased by seven percent compared to the 2012 data, and injuries increased by 17 percent, reverses the decline recorded last year. The death toll almost matches the peak figure of 3,133 recorded in 2011. The number of civilians killed or wounded in crossfire during ground battles rose 43 percent on 2012, with 534 dead and 1,793 wounded. The conflict has claimed the lives of 14,064 civilians in the past five years.

Afghan forces have been taking an increasing role in the fight against the Taliban as the coalition withdraws by the end of 2014. About 58,000 NATO-led combat troops who are still in Afghanistan are due to leave by the end of the year.

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