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More Afghan civilians being killed by US, Afghan forces than Taliban: UN report

A United Nations report revealed that for the first time in the history of 17-year long insurgency in Afghanistan the greater numbers of Afghan civilian are being killed by US and pro-government forces than by the Taliban and insurgent groups.

During the first three months of 2019, international and pro-government forces were responsible for the deaths of 305 civilians, whereas insurgent groups killed 227 people, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said in a quarterly report.

It said that majority of the civilians were killed by US air strikes or during search operations primarily conducted by US-backed Afghan forces.

“UNAMA urges both the Afghan national security forces and international military forces to conduct investigations into allegations of civilian casualties, to publish the results of their findings, and to provide compensation to victims as appropriate,” the report states.

UNAMA started compiling civilian casualty data in 2009 amid deteriorating security conditions in Afghanistan.

It is the first tally since records began that shows pro-government forces have killed more civilians than insurgents have, though insurgents were responsible for more than twice as many injuries as were pro-government forces.

Colonel Dave Butler, spokesman for US Forces-Afghanistan, said the US military holds itself “to the highest standards of accuracy and accountability” and that it strives for precision in all its operations.

“We reserve the right of self-defence of our forces as well as the Afghan Security Forces,” Butler said in a statement.

“The best way to end the suffering of non-combatants is to end the fighting through an agreed-upon reduction in violence on all sides.”

In 2017, the US military started quickening its operational tempo after President Donald Trump loosened restrictions and made it easier for American forces to bomb Taliban positions.