KABUL, Afghanistan — The Taliban and other insurgent groups were responsible for nearly 80 percent of the civilian deaths in the war in Afghanistan last year, said a U.N. report released Saturday.
The report said the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan documented 3,021 civilian deaths in the conflict in 2011 — up 8 percent from 2010, which saw 2,790 deaths, and an increase of 25 percent from 2009, when 2,412 civilians were killed.
The U.N. said "anti-government elements" — shorthand for the Taliban and other insurgent groups — were responsible for 2,332, or 77 percent, of conflict-related deaths in 2011, up 14 percent from 2010.
The report said 410 civilian deaths, or 14 percent of the 2011 total, were caused by operations by "pro-government forces," or Afghan, U.S. and international security forces — a drop of 4 percent from 2010. A further 279 deaths, or 9 percent of civilian fatalities, could not be blamed on any side.
A leading Afghan politician and women's rights activist labeled Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar a hypocrite and called his followers terrorists in the wake of a U.N. report into civilian casualties in Afghanistan.
"Civilian casualties by any side are not acceptable," said Fawzia Kufi, a member of Parliament and head of the National Assembly's women's affairs committee.