Saturday, November 20, 2010

Afghanistan: Aid groups condemn Nato airstrikes

By Tom Mellen, Morning Star Online,  November 19,  2010
 
Occupation forces have “dramatically” intensified airstrikes in Afghanistan in recent months, killing scores of civilians and fuelling “fear, distrust and anger,” a coalition of aid agencies said today.

The Nowhere to Turn report, by 29 international and national aid agencies including Oxfam, the Afghan Women’s Network and the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, was released to coincide with the Nato summit in Lisbon.

The groups say that US forces used 2,100 bombs or missiles from June through September – an almost 50 per cent increase on the same period last year – in a bid to “show fast results at home.”

Hundreds of civilians are believed to have died in the air raids.

The report shows that 2010 has been the deadliest year for Afghan civilians since 2001.
According to the United Nations assistance mission in Afghanistan there were 1,271 civilian deaths in the first six months of 2010 – an increase of 21 per cent on the same time last year.

The agencies say that armed opposition groups have responded to the influx of Western military forces – whose presence increased from 90,000 to 140,000 over the past year – by expanding their presence into the north, centre and west and “now have control of or significant influence in over half of the country.”

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