Friday, March 18, 2011

U.N. Reported Only a Fraction of Civilian Deaths from U.S. Raids

by Gareth Porter and Shah Noori, CommonDreams.org, March 17, 2011

WASHINGTON/KABUL – The number of civilians killed in U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF) raids last year was probably several times higher than the figure of 80 people cited in the U.N. report on civilian casualties in Afghanistan published last week, an IPS investigation has revealed.

The number of civilians killed in U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF) raids last year was probably several times higher than the figure of 80 people cited in the U.N. report on civilian casualties in Afghanistan published last week, an IPS investigation has revealed. (AFP/Shah Marai)

The report also failed to apply the same humanitarian law standard for defining a civilian to its reporting on SOF raids that it applied to its accounting for Taliban assassinations.

The Mar. 9 report, produced by the Human Rights unit of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) jointly with the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), said a total of 80 civilians were killed in “search and seizure operations” by “Pro-Government Forces” in 2010.

But AIHRC Commissioner Nader Nadery told IPS the figure represented only the number of civilian deaths in night raids in the 13 incidents involving SOF units that the Commission had been able to investigate thoroughly.

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