Fewer Civilian Deaths in Afghanistan

Even in the face of increased military deployment and the fact that 2010 is on course to be one of the deadliest years for foreign troops in Afghanistan, the number of civilians killed there by U.S. and NATO forces has reportedly decreased due to stricter rules of engagement.

Civilian deaths at the hands of coalition forces have been a major sore point in the ongoing battle against the Taliban. –JCL


Despite their boosted deployment and increased losses, foreign forces have been inflicting relatively fewer Afghan civilian casualties due to more stringent rules of engagement, a top coalition spokesman said on Saturday. Winning over civilians while reinforcing and stepping up military sweeps of Taliban-held areas is a centerpiece of the strategy formed over the past year by U.S. General Stanley McChrystal, the commander of foreign forces in Afghanistan.

But with the clock ticking on planned troop pullouts, the United States and allies in the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) are troubled by its daily death tolls as well as Afghan losses that can reach triple figures in any given month.

Presenting data from the last three months compared to the same period in 2009, ISAF spokesman Brigadier-General Josef Blotz said there were 7.8 percent fewer clashes involving civilians, with 44.4 percent fewer killed or wounded by coalition troops.

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