Civilian Deaths Increase in Afghanistan

KABUL (AP) - The U.N. says civilian deaths in Afghanistan rose
40 percent in 2008 to a record 2,118.

An annual U.N. report says militants were responsible for 55
percent of civilian deaths last year, or 1,160. But the world body
says U.S., NATO or Afghan troops killed 829 - 39 percent of the
total.

The remaining 130 deaths couldn't be accounted for because of
issues like cross-fire.

Civilian deaths have been a huge source of friction between the
U.S. and President Hamid Karzai, who has increased demands that
U.S. and NATO troops avoid killing civilians during operations.

The U.N. report released Tuesday says the number of civilians
killed by U.S., NATO or Afghan forces rose 31 percent from 2007 to
2008. In 2007 those forces killed 629 civilians.


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