A confidential NATO report issued last month reveals that civilian deaths from the war in Afghanistan have increased by 46% over the past year.
The 12 page report was authenticated and released today in full by the transparency group Wikileaks.
The report shows a dramatic escalation of the war and civil disorder. Coalition deaths increased by 35%, assassinations and kidnappings by 50% and attacks on the Kabul based Government of Hamid Karzai also more than doubled, rising a massive 119%.
Other significant NATO/International Security Assistance Force figures from the 2009 report are:
* IED related attacks rose 27% and deaths 29%.
* Rifle and rocket fire increased 40%.
* Surface to air fire increased 67%.
Outside of the capital Kabul:
* Only one in two families had access to even the most
basic health care
* Only one in two children had access to a school
Earlier this month a British Army officer, Colonel McNally, was arrested for passing civilian death toll figures for 2006-2007 to Human Rights Watch analyst and former BBC radio reporter Rachel Reid. Human Rights Watch published a report based around the data last September.
The London Times, stated that American military officials were “seething” over the leaks.
According to a UK Ministry of Defence source in the Daily Mail:
“What McNally passed on will not cost lives in the sense
that it doesn’t give specific military details. But the
whole point of defeating the Taliban is winning hearts and
minds and stopping the population joining their cause. If
they think we’re lying to them, it could become a very
dangerous place. This has caused a diplomatic row and
the Americans are not happy at all.”
Wikileaks legal spokesperson Jay Lim said “We deplore the arrest of Colonel McNally for revealing civilian death figures. It is clear that Col. McNally’s actions are of the highest moral calibre.”
NATO is not likely to find Wikileaks’ source so readily. The site uses state of the art anonymization technologies, and the identity of its sources are protected under the Swedish Press Freedom Act.
In January Wikileaks quashed a South African Government criminal investigation after warning it would seek to have the prosecutors charged and extradited to face trial before Swedish courts.
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