Afghanistan’s human rights commission announced Sunday that civilian deaths so far in 2010 had risen by 6 percent, a fact construed as negative unless you’re The Associated Press, which seems to think “the modest increase suggested that U.S. and NATO efforts to hold down civilian casualties were having some success.”

The increase was calculated in comparison with civilian casualties over the same period in 2009. Insurgents were reported to have caused the majority of the civilian casualties.

Also important to note is that July was the deadliest month for U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan over the nine years since the invasion. –JCL

Associated Press:

Civilian war deaths in the first seven months of 2010 rose by 6 percent over the same period last year, Afghanistan’s human rights commission said Sunday. The modest increase suggested that U.S. and NATO efforts to hold down civilian casualties were having some success.

Also Sunday, the bodies of 10 members of a medical team – six Americans, two Afghans, one German and a Briton – were flown to Kabul from the northern province of Badakhshan, where they were gunned down three days ago at the end of a humanitarian mission. The Taliban claimed responsibility and accused the group of spying and seeking to convert Muslims to Christianity.

The Taliban and their allies were responsible for 68 percent of the at least 1,325 civilian deaths recorded by the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, the organization said in a report. Twenty-three percent were ascribed to NATO or Afghan government forces.

Responsibility for the remaining 9 percent could not be determined because they occurred in areas that were too dangerous for a thorough investigation, the commission said.

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