Afghan civilian deaths rise
Taliban responsible for majority, report says
The number of Afghan civilians killed in the ongoing war rose to 1,325 in the first seven months of this year, according to an Afghan group that monitors the conflict's toll.
That was an increase of six per cent over the same period last year, a report from Afghanistan's Independent Human Rights Commission said Sunday.
The organization said the Taliban were responsible for 68 per cent of the deaths. NATO or Afghan government forces got the blame for 23 per cent, while responsibility for the other nine per cent could not be determined.
Insurgent bombs killed 425 civilians in the January to July period, according to the report, another 197 died in targeted assassinations and 125 were killed by Taliban suicide attacks.
NATO has made efforts to hold down civilian deaths, limiting the use of air power and heavy weapons, despite complaints from soldiers that such restraint puts them at greater risk.
Military casualty figures show that more than 420 NATO troops have been killed in Afghanistan this year, including three Americans and two Danes killed on Saturday alone. The most recent civilian deaths also occurred on Saturday, when 10 aid workers were killed by militants.
Thirteen members of the Canadian Forces have been killed during the Afghan mission this year — 151 since Canada's involvement in the mission began in 2002.
In the next few days, the UN is expected to release its own report on civilian deaths in the first half of the year.
With files from The Associated Press