The human cost of the armed conflict in Afghanistan grew in 2010. The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission and UNAMA Human Rights recorded 2,777 civilian deaths in 2010, an increase of 15 per cent compared to 2009. Over the past four
years, 8,832 civilians have been killed in the conflict, with civilian deaths increasing each year.
The worsening human impact of the conflict reinforces the urgent need for parties to the conflict to do more to protect Afghan civilians, who, in 2010, were killed and injured in their homes and communities in even greater numbers. UNAMA Human Rights and the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission urge the Anti-Government Elements and Pro-Government Forces to strengthen civilian protection and fully comply with their legal obligations to minimize civilian casualties.
Of the total number of 2,777 civilians killed in 2010, 2,080 deaths (75 per cent of total civilian deaths) were attributed to Anti-Government Elements, up 28 per cent from 2009. Suicide attacks and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) caused the most civilian deaths, totaling 1,141 deaths (55 per cent of civilian deaths attributed to Anti-Government Elements). The most alarming trend in 2010 was the huge number of civilians assassinated by Anti-Government Elements. Four hundred and sixty two civilians were assassinated representing an increase of more than 105 per cent compared to 2009. Half of all civilian assassinations occurred in southern Afghanistan. Helmand province saw a 588 per cent increase in the number of civilians assassinated by Anti-Government Elements and Kandahar province experienced a 248 per cent increase compared to 2009.
Afghan national security and international military forces (Pro-Government Forces) were linked to 440 deaths or 16 per cent of total civilian deaths, a reduction of 26 per cent from 2009. Aerial attacks claimed the largest percentage of civilian deaths caused by Pro-Government Forces in 2010, causing 171 deaths (39 per cent of the total number of civilian deaths attributed to Pro-Government Forces). Notably, there was a 52 per cent decline in civilian deaths from air attacks compared to 2009.
Nine per cent of civilian deaths in 2010 could not be attributed to any party to the conflict.