May 11 - The United Nations says civilian deaths in Afghanistan in the first four months of 2012 are down by a fifth on the same period in 2011. |Paul Chapman reports.
The United Nations' special representative to Afghanistan, Jan Kubis, says civilian deaths from January to April this year are down by a fifth on the same period last year. SOUNDBITE: JAN KUBIS, UNITED NATIONS SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE TO AFGHANISTAN, SAYING (English): "I see a stronger effort, a much stronger effort, to address this problem on the side of the pro-government forces and notably on the side of ISAF (International Security Assistance Force)." The drop comes after five years of rising civilian deaths. Last year more than 3, 000 civilians perished in roadside bombs, suicide attacks and other violence. Another 4, 500 were wounded. But Kubis says many deaths are down to the actions of anti-government forces. SOUNDBITE: JAN KUBIS, UNITED NATIONS SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE TO AFGHANISTAN, SAYING (English): "The overwhelming majority of civilian casualties are caused by the actions and activities of anti-government forces including such terrible instruments, if I may call it like, increasingly suicide bombers." A series of recent civilian deaths blamed on NATO, led Afghanistan's president to warn that a strategic partnership agreement with the U.S. was at risk of becoming meaningless if Afghans didn't feel safe. Paul Chapman, Reuters