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Taliban reject UN report on civilian deaths

world Updated: Feb 05, 2012 20:54 IST

Afghanistan's Taliban insurgents today rejected as "political" a UN report blaming them for more than three quarters of civilian deaths in the country in 2011.

An annual UN report released on Saturday said civilian deaths from Afghanistan's decade-long civil war reached a record high in 2011.

A total of 3,021 civilians died, mostly at the hands of insurgents, up 8% from 2,790 in 2010, according to the report from the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

"In this report UNAMA has tried to be more political than to focus on human rights," the Taliban said in a statement posted on their website.

"In the past 10 years the United Nations have continually tried to hide the inhuman crimes of the main perpetrators (foreign forces) of the current war and make their crimes look lawful."

According to the UN report, the Taliban-led insurgents caused 77% of the deaths last year, up 14% from 2010, while pro-government forces were responsible for killing 410 civilians, 14% of the total.

Another 279 deaths, 9%, could not be attributed to either side.

The record loss of life was blamed mainly on changes in the insurgents' tactics, which saw an increased use of homemade bombs and deadlier suicide attacks.

Most deaths attributed to NATO forces were a result of attacks from the air, but there was an overall decline of 4% in the number of civilians killed by pro-government forces.

The militants also accused the UN of following the US policies in Afghanistan.

"About Afghanistan, most of the time your stance does not differ from that of the White House," they said.

"In some cases UN repeats what the White House says, which makes people think that UN confirms US policies and is not an independent body."