A confidential NATO report from January 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 in full today by 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%.
The report highlights huge increases on attacks aimed at Coalition forces, including a 27 % increase in IED attacks, a 40%. rise in rifle and rocket fire and an increase in surface to air fire of 67%.
According to the report, outside of the capital Kabul only one in two families had access to even the most basic health care, and only one in two children had access to a school.
The disclosure follows the unrelated arrest of Colonel Owen McNally earlier this month for passing older civilian death toll figures to Human Rights Watch analyst and former BBC radio reporter Rachel Reid. Human Rights Watch published a report based around that data, which covered 2006-2007, last September.
The London Times, stated that American military officials were “seething” over the leaks.
A UK Ministry of Defence source reportedly told 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 stated “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. His example has encouraged others to step forward.”
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.
Original source: https://secure.wikileaks.org/wiki/Wikileaks_releases_NATO_report_on_civilian_deaths