Kabul, Feb 9 (DPA) At least two children lost their lives every day in the Afghan conflict in 2010, a rights group said Wednesday, blaming the Taliban-led insurgents for two thirds of the deaths.
“About 739 children lost their lives in the conflict-related security incidents in Afghanistan from Jan 1 to Dec 31, 2010,” said the Afghanistan Rights Monitor (ARM), an independent group that has been conducting annual reports on civilian casualties since 2008.
The ARM said that around 64 percent of the children were killed in Taliban attacks, most of them roadside bombs, which are also the number one killer of NATO-led troops.
The US and NATO forces, who have around 140,000 troops in Afghanistan, were held responsible for 17 percent of the deaths, while pro-government forces caused 4 percent of the fatalities, it said.
Around 15 per cent of the deaths caused in security incidents could not clearly be attributed to either warring side, the report added.
Civilian casualties at the hands of foreign forces, often in airstrikes and night raids, have been a sensitive issue in Afghanistan and have often been a source of friction between the government and its international military allies.
While fewer children died in 2010 than in the year before, ARM said the overall number civilian casualties remained the same at 2,421, almost the same figure as reported by the UN.
The report found that the central province of Bamyan and the northern province of Panjshir were the safest areas for children, while Kandahar and Helmand in the south, Kunar in the east and Kunduz in north were among the most dangerous provinces.
“Children were highly vulnerable to the harms of war but little was done by the combatant sides, particularly by the Afghan opposition groups, to ensure child safety and security during military and security incidents,” it concluded.