Monsters and Critics – 2011-12-21 15:30:17
KABUL (December 20, 2011) — United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in his latest report on Afghanistan said Tuesday that ‘security-related events’ were up by 21 percent this year, compared to the first 11 months of 2010.
Meanwhile, NATO-led international forces said in a report that ‘enemy-initiated attacks’ had decreased by eight percent in the same period and the Afghan conflict has seen a ‘sustained downward trend’.
By the end of November, the average monthly number of security-related events was 1,995 — up 21 percent compared to the first 11 months of 2010, Ban said in his quarterly report to the UN Security Council.
Even though the three months to November saw a slight decline in security incidents compared with 2010, the overall 11-month report showed a marked increase, largely due to a violent summer.
The increase is in contrast with coalition military officials who are projecting a downward trend in security incidents.
THe NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) released a report Tuesday showing a decrease of 8 percent in the first 11 months, compared to same period in 2010, calling it ‘the longest sustained downward trend’.
This is not the first time the UN and ISAF have reported contradicting security trends.
In September, the UN report said Afghanistan was witnessing ‘considerable political volatility and disconcerting levels of insecurity’ with a 39-percent hike in security incidents in the first eight months of the year, compared to the same period in 2010.
Meanwhile, ISAF reported progress with ‘enemy-initiated attacks 2 percent lower’ in the same period.
ISAF says they count the numbers differently to the UN.
‘Security data differs in category, collection coverage and magnitude,’ a NATO spokesman said.
Analysts have said the inconsistency in numbers has become one of the features of the conflict, in which different ways of quantifying statistics is being debated, instead of what is happening on the ground.
The UN chief also said in his report Tuesday that armed clashes and events involving improvised explosive devices constituted the majority of security incidents, accounting for nearly 65 percent of the total in 2011.
He said the focus for military and insurgent activities had shifted from the volatile south to the south-east and east of the country, where international military efforts have focused in recent months.
‘Although (complex attacks by the Taliban) is consistent with previous trends, the locations and individuals targeted generated significant publicity,’ the report said. ‘These attacks were also attempts by the insurgency to demonstrate its geographical reach.’
The report also said the total number of civilian deaths increased by 5 percent from January to November.
77 per cent of all civilian deaths has been attributed to anti-government elements, the report said, while 10 percent was caused by pro-government forces.
The majority of civilian deaths were attributed to the continued use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and targeted killings by anti-Government elements, the report said.
IEDs were responsible for 37 percent of all civilian deaths, and increased by 4 per cent in the first 11 months, compared to the same period in 2010.
The UN chief’s report also said that targeted assassinations of high-ranking government officials, members of the security forces and influential local political and religious leaders had continued this year, ‘with the number of assassinations comparable to that of 2010’.
Targeted killings of government officials and individuals with actual or perceived ties to the government or its international allies occurred throughout the country, the report found, causing 180 deaths — an increase of 34 per cent compared to the same period in 2010.
The Taliban, who have been fighting a decade-long local insurgency, have launched spates of complex attacks, even in the capital and provincial headquarters.
In August, Taliban suicide bombers targeted the British Council, a British government cultural center. In September, the United States Embassy in Kabul was attacked in a 20-hour siege.
The same month, former president Burhanuddin Rabbani, who headed the High Peace Council that sought to start dialogue with the Taliban, was assassinated by a suicide bomber.
‘Mr. Rabbani’s killing was a setback, but it should not and cannot deter efforts towards Afghan-led reconciliation,’ Ban said in his report.
‘Rather it should provide an opportunity for all Afghans to come together in a moment of national unity to make a renewed commitment to peace through dialogue.’
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