Nearly 700 civilians killed in 2008
Afghan violence, says UN

June 30, 2008


Nearly 700 Afghan civilians have lost their lives in crossfire between insurgents and foreign troops this year, the United Nations said.

About 255 people were killed during operations by Afghan, NATO- and US-led forces against militants while 422 others lost their lives in attacks by rebels targeting government and military forces, UN's Relief Coordinator Sir John Holmes told reporters.

It was not known how another 21 people died, he added.

The figures show a sharp rise in the civilian deaths compared with 430 in the same period last year, Holmes said.

"While the proportion of deaths attributed to pro-government (forces) has gone down, the absolute figure has increased, due to the rise in the overall total," the visiting UN official said.

Most of the casualties were in the country's south where the Taliban have been active, he added.

Afghanistan is wracked by an insurgency being waged by remnants of the Taliban whose regime was toppled in a US-led invasion more than seven years ago.

Since then, a 70,000-strong international force has been stationed in the country fighting the rebels.