NATO says U.N. tally of Afghan violence uses different metrics

Recent high-profile attacks and assassinations have raised questions about Afghanistan's overall level of security

Story highlights

  • ISAF says 25% of the total U.N. security incidents are not on its list
  • U.N. figures include "all incidents regardless of which entity initiates the activity," ISAF says
  • ISAF says Afghanistan's east remains a security challenge
  • The U.N. report says monthly security incidents are up 39% in 2011
NATO says a new report by the United Nations that points to a spike in violence in Afghanistan differs from the alliance's tally because "security incidents" were defined differently.
"The U.N. counts a number of additional event types that ISAF does not include in its definition of security incidents, such as cache finds, arrests, assassinations, intimidation, and others," according to a statement Thursday from the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force.
It says "25% of the total U.N. security incidents are event types that ISAF does not include in its definition."
Another difference, ISAF says, is that U.N. figures include "all incidents regardless of which entity initiates the activity," while NATO counted only "attacks initiated by insurgent elements."
But the international force also said it recognizes that the country's eastern regions remain a "challenging security situation."
Enemy-initiated attacks in June, July and August were 17% higher than the same period in 2010, according to the ISAF statement.
The U.N. report, from the office of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, says security incidents in 2011 are up 39% over the same period last year.
Most of the incidents involved armed clashes and improvised explosive devices. There were just as many suicide attacks -- 12 per month -- as there were a year ago, the report says.
"The south and southeast of the country, particularly around the city of Kandahar, continued to be the focus of military activity and accounted for approximately two-thirds of total security incidents," the report says.
But a rash of recent high-profile attacks and assassinations have raised questions about the country's overall level of security, particularly as coalition forces are drawn down.