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UN Alarmed By Mounting Afghan Violence

The report found that the number of security incidents has increased
The United Nations says violence in Afghanistan has increased dramatically since the beginning the year.

A UN report released on June 19 by the UN mission in Kabul says roadside bombings increased 94 percent in the first four months of this year compared to the same period in 2009, a trend it describes as "alarming."

The report, submitted by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to the UN Security Council, says Afghanistan's overall security situation "has not improved" since the UN's last report in March.

According to the report, assassinations of Afghan officials jumped 45 percent.

The findings come amid a major NATO-led offensive in the Taliban-dominated south -- the biggest military operation since the Taliban were ousted in 2001.

U.S. President Barack Obama has ordered 30,000 extra troops to Afghanistan in an effort to improve security before the U.S. Army starts pulling out in 2011.

According to the report, suicide attacks occur at the rate of about three per week, half of them in the ethnic Pashtun areas of the south, which has become the focus of the war.

The UN found the number of security incidents had "increased significantly compared to previous years," largely due to ramped-up military operations in the south.

War Weariness

The reports reflect growing frustration among Afghans, who are growing weary of the war.

Haji Abdul Rahim, a village elder in the southern Kandahar Province, spoke to Reuters on June 19 and said, "We don't want anything from the Americans, they have made us many promises in the past but have not fulfilled them."

But the study also found some encouraging signs, including plans by the Afghan government to offer economic incentives to insurgents to leave the battlefield.

It also noted that the electoral commission had successfully registered more than 2,500 candidates for polls due in September.

NATO spokesman Brigadier General Josef Blotz, speaking on June 19 at a news conference in Kabul, said that despite the negative findings the international force was making slow-but-steady progress.

"Tough fighting is expected to continue, but the situation is trending in our favor as more forces flow into the area," he said.

Blotz also said the number of civilians killed or wounded in operations involving the international force dropped by about 44 percent in the past 12 weeks, compared with the same period last year.

compiled from agency reports