Last year, 2,754 Afghan civilians died and another 4,805 were wounded. That’s the first time civilian deaths and injuries dropped since 2007, the United Nations mission to Afghanistan announced in a report released Tuesday, and a 12 percent drop from 2011. Insurgents are responsible for the vast majority of those casualties, 81 percent.
The report is sure to come as a big relief to the United States and its NATO allies. They’re not the drivers of dead Afghans, thanks in part to sharp restrictions on air strikes since 2011. Only eight percent of civilian deaths and injuries are attributable to the actions of the U.S. and its allies. (Another 11 percent of casualties don’t have a clear cause.) The biggest danger to Afghan civilians comes not from NATO air strikes but from homemade Afghan insurgent bombs. Some 782 bombing incidents in 2012 accounted for 34 percent of all Afghan civilian casualties.