He blamed the U.S.-led coalition for the bulk of civilian deaths and injuries. The coalition drops huge bombs on villages and houses which are much heavier than IEDs and cause more damage, he said, referring to roadside bombs by the military acronym for improvised explosive devices.
Haysom said there was little evidence that the Taliban was taking steps to reduce civilian casualties, blaming the vast majority of civilian casualties on the Talibans use of indiscriminate tactics such as pressure-plate IEDs, suicide attacks, and targeted killings of civilians. Rodehaver said that IED attacks by insurgents caused 33 percent of all casualties, or 327 deaths and 689 injuries.
The U.N. said that civilian casualties from targeted killings by insurgents increased by 53 percent in 2012, with 255 civilians killed and 101 injured in 237 incidents. Those targeted included persons accused of supporting the government or international military forces, as well as officials, workers, contractors, community and tribal elders, and men and women who have actively pursued peace and reconciliation, Haysom said.
In the last month alone, there have been five instances of attacks targeting imams (Islamic spiritual leaders) in mosques or during Ramadan (the Muslim holy month). This is indicative of an alarming trend towards targeted killings of civilians.
The report also accused insurgents of increasingly interfering in the Afghan education system, listing 34 attacks against schools including cases of burning school buildings, targeted killings and intimidation of teachers, and armed attacks on schools especially girls schools.
Taliban spokesman Mujahid said the Taliban rejected the claim that they were targeting civilians or spiritual leaders and attacking schools. He added, however, that the Taliban targeted anyone who works for the Kabul government because we dont consider those who work with foreign forces or the Afghan government to be civilians.
In the past, (UNAMA) have even counted the security guards on NATO supply convoys as civilians. I say clearly that these people arent civilians: they are our targets. They cooperate with the enemy, they strengthen the enemy, and they help the enemy.
McClatchy special correspondent Ali Safi contributed.