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US increases civilian deaths and terrorism in Afghanistan

from democracynow.org

US-Led Attacks Account for 1/3 of Afghan Deaths

New figures show Afghan civilian casualties rose to more than 2,100 last year. More than a third were killed by Afghan and US-led troops. On Tuesday, Afghan President Hamid Karzai renewed criticism of deadly US attacks.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai: “Our demands are clear: house searches of Afghans, arrests of Afghans, and civilian casualties must cease. And the US and NATO countries are naturally putting on pressure to make us silent and retract from this claim. This is not possible.”

The US has ignored growing criticism from Karzai, including his demand for a timetable for the withdrawal of all foreign troops. President Obama is preparing to send around 17,000 additional troops to Afghanistan later this year.

Minister: Iraq War Increased Foreign Fighters in Afghanistan

Militant attacks also increased by one-third in Afghanistan last year. Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak said the number of foreign militants has swelled because of the Iraq war.

Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak: “Since last year, as the result of the success in the surge in Iraq, there has been a flow of foreign terrorists into Afghanistan. There has been engagement this year, in 2008, that in some of these engagements actually 60 percent of the total force which we have encountered were foreign, foreign fighters.”

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