Taliban attacks increasingly kill Afghan civilians
“Taliban insurgents are carrying out more attacks this year than at any time since early in the war, killing increasing numbers of civilians as U.S.-led forces push into the militants’ southern strongholds, an Afghan rights group said Monday.
International troops were responsible for about one-fifth of civilian deaths — down from previous years, thanks to restrictive rules of engagement that some soldiers feel put their own lives at risk.
That so many noncombatants are dying shows that the international force has yet to succeed in its goal of protecting the Afghan people, whose trust and support are key components of NATO’s new counterinsurgency strategy in the nearly 9-year-old war.
At least 1,074 civilians died in the first half of this year, triple the number of international forces killed over the same period, the Afghanistan Rights Monitor said in a report that called 2010 the worst year for security since shortly after the demise of the Taliban regime.
Violence has soared as coalition forces, bolstered by 30,000 American reinforcements, move into Taliban strongholds in the south and east to try to wrest the areas from the militants, strengthen Afghan government control and win Afghans’ trust. The insurgents have responded with a wave of ambushes, suicide attacks, roadside bombs and assassinations.”