2010 Deadliest Year for Afghan Civilians; ‘US to Stay in Afghanistan Forever’

January 3rd, 2011 - by admin

PressTV – 2011-01-03 23:02:51


‘2010 Deadliest Year for Afghan Civilians’

KABUL (January 2, 2011) — Zemarai Bashary, a spokesman for Afghan interior ministry said more than 2,000 civilians lost their lives in violence across Afghanistan.

He went on to say that nearly 1,300 Afghan police officers were also killed and over 2,000 more were injured last year.

The ministry’s spokesman made his remarks during a news conference in Kabul on Sunday, a Press TV corresspondent reported.

Meanwhile, an AFP count based on official figures show more than 10,000 people, about a fifth of them civilians, lost their lives in violence in Afghanistan last year. Afghans have become more outraged over the seemingly endless number of US-led airstrikes and ground operations in various parts of the country.

Afghans blame foreign troops and their military operations for the civilian deaths; they therefore, have repeatedly asked US-led forces to end the imprecise aerial bombardments that mostly inflict civilian casualties. US-led forces, however, maintain that they are targeting militants.

NATO forces have also dropped more bombs on villages they think Taliban militants are hiding in, inflicting extensive damage on civilian properties.

A recent UN report also confirmed that more civilians were killed in 2010 than any other year since the US-led invasion of the country in 2001.

According to the report, the civilian fatalities had risen by 31 percent in the first six months of the year alone.

Meanwhile, the security situation is believed to have been deteriorated in Afghanistan with US-led forces being killed by Taliban militants at a rate of almost two soldiers per day.

In 2010, at least 711 international troops were killed in Afghanistan, making it the highest annual death toll since the war began in 2001.

Over 150,000 foreign troops are stationed in the country, claiming that they are there to bring security for the Afghan nation.

The invasion of Afghanistan took place with the official objective of curbing militancy and bringing peace and stability to the country. Nine years on, however, Afghanistan remains unstable and civilians continue to pay the price.

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‘US to Stay in Afghanistan Forever’

WASHINGTON (January 3, 2011) — A senior Republican senator has suggested that the US should devise a plan to permanently keep American troops in war-ravaged Afghanistan.

Lindsey Graham, the Republican senator from South Carolina, told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday that Republicans would push for indefinite US stay in Afghanistan in the years ahead.

“We have had air bases all over the world and a couple of air bases in Afghanistan would allow the Afghan security forces an edge against the Taliban in perpetuity. It would be a signal to Pakistan that the Taliban are never going to come back. In Afghanistan they could change their behavior. It would be a signal to the whole region that Afghanistan is going to be a different place.”

“And if the Afghan people want this relationship, they are going to have to earn it. But I hope that they will seek a relationship with the United States so we can have an enduring relationship, economic and militarily and politically, and a couple of air bases in Afghanistan will give us an edge military, give the Afghan security forces an edge militarily to ensure that the country never goes back into the hands of the Taliban, which would be a stabilizing event throughout the whole region.”

This comes as the US is planning to more than triple its customs and border patrol experts in Afghanistan in 2011.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said on Saturday the experts will train Afghan police and customs officials to better manage the country’s border crossings.

Napolitano, who currently has 25 agents on the ground, up from 11 a year ago, went on to say that 52 former US customs and border patrol officers will arrive in Afghanistan in 2011.

The developments also come as Commander of the US and NATO forces in Afghanistan General David Petraeus has recently hinted that the Western military alliance will increase its operations along the Afghan-Pakistan border.

“We want to do more hammer and anvil operations,” Petraeus said in late December, 2010.

Analysts say the US is looking for an excuse to expand its military operations in the troubled South and central Asian regions to secure bases near Russia and China.

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