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Taliban dispute U.N. report on Afghan casualties

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Civilian Casualties Rise in Afghanistan
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The Taliban cites southern Afghan operations and night raids
  • The U.N. says three out of four of the casualties were caused by "anti-government elements"
  • Afghan representative says there's more coordination among forces, but not enough
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Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) -- The Taliban movement is disputing a U.N. report that asserts the number of civilians slain by insurgents has risen but those killed by the coalition has dropped.

The group said in a statement posted Friday that the recently-issued quarterly report is part of an "effort to cover up the brutal actions of Americans."

The Taliban said American operations in the southern Afghan provinces of Kandahar and Helmand and coalition night raids have caused casualties and displaced thousands of civilians.

"The increase in civilian casualties to hundred of thousands during the past nine years by the American brutal invaders is a plan for genocide, which is continuing in the remote areas of the country ... " the statement said.

The U.N. report said that Afghanistan is seeing higher levels of violence this year than last year at this time, with 20 percent more civilians killed and the number of "security incidents" up by 66 percent.

The number of civilians killed by the United States and its allies was lower, but insurgent attacks are significantly higher, meaning the overall number of civilian deaths is up, the report said.

More than 2,400 civilians were killed and more than 3,800 injured in the first 10 months of this year, according to the report.

More than three out of four of the casualties were caused by "anti-government elements," it said.

That's a 25 percent increase, the report said. Deaths caused by U.S. troops and their allies were down 18 percent.

Seyamak Herawi, Afghan President Harmid Karzai's deputy government spokesman, said most civilian casualties stem from suicide attacks and road mines.

The decrease in the casualties stemming from NATO's International Security Assistance Force is good news for Afghan government and it shows that forces are getting used to the war on terrorism in the country and fighting more carefully then before, Herawi said.

"We hope the civilian casualties also decrease along with the ISAF forces' casualties," Herawi said.

"The arbitrary operations have decreased and now most of the operations are taking place in coordination with the Afghan forces, but it is not enough yet. We need more coordination between Afghan and international forces during the operations to avoid civilian and military casualties," Herawi said.

 
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