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UN Says 600 Civilians Killed In Afghanistan This Year --> One group has called for less air strikes (file photo) (AFP) July 2, 2007 -- The United Nations says it estimates that about 600 Afghan civilians have been killed in insurgency-linked violence this year, just over half of them by pro-government forces.

UN spokesman Adrian Edwards said today that the number of civilian killed in May was the highest in months. Edwards said that in June, those killed by national and foreign forces supporting the government appear to "largely exceed" those killed by rebels.

Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today he delivered a "strong" appeal to military commanders in Afghanistan to avoid civilian casualties. Ban met the commander of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Kabul on June 29.

Also, Afghanistan's Independent Human Rights Commission says air strikes have recently killed more civilians than the Taliban. The group urged U.S. and NATO-led forces to cut back on air strikes and boost the number of foot soldiers in Afghanistan.

(AFP, Reuters)
U.S.-Afghan Relations
STRATEGIC PARTNERS: Since leading the military campaign to oust the fundamentalist and largely unrecognized Taliban regime from power in 2001, U.S. officials have pledged a long-term interest in Afghan stability.


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