Civilians ‘main Afghan victims’

By Mark Dummett, BBC News
Civilians have been the main victims of insurgent attacks in Afghanistan in the past 15 months, a study has revealed. Even though most attacks have been on military and government targets, most victims have nothing to do with either, the Human Rights Watch study said.

Since 2005, Afghanistan has witnessed a sharp increase in the number of attacks and bombings carried out by the Taleban and other anti-government forces.

The report says these led to a sharp rise in Afghan civilian casualties.

More bombings threatened

Human Rights Watch says there were 136 suicide attacks last year compared to 25 the year before.

Most of these were on military targets, either on multinational forces or the Afghan army and police.

However, because the attacks took place in built-up areas, the majority of the victims were civilian.

The attacks killed 272 people and 531 injured.

Overall Human Rights Watch said that more than 660 civilians were killed by insurgents last year.

The Taleban have threatened hundreds more bombings this year. In the past three days alone, there have been three deadly attacks.

At least nine policemen were killed on Monday morning in Kunduz in the usually peaceful north.

On Sunday, four private security guards were blown up in the southern city of Kandahar and on Saturday seven policemen died near the border with Pakistan in Khost province.

Analysts say the bombings are the Taleban’s response to being squeezed by the build-up of foreign troops in the south and east and they are very difficult to prevent.

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