NATO statistics show that Afghan civilians killed by foreign forces have more than doubled this year compared to the same period a year ago.
According to the figures released by the International Security Assistance Forces, NATO troops killed 72 Afghan civilians in the first three months of 2010 — up from 29 in the same period last year.
This comes a day after the UN’s Special Representative to Afghanistan criticized the military alliance for the civilian casualties in the country.
Staffan de Mistura has said he is seriously concerned by the casualties in recent NATO military operations. NATO claims the killings were accidental.
Meanwhile, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top US commander in Afghanistan, intends to push into Kandahar, a more densely populated area than the Helmand areas where he has placed most of his operational emphasis to date.
President Hamid Karzai has said he will oppose any Kandahar action without local support. Also, on a recent trip with McChrystal to a local shura, the elders have objected to the impending operation and said that they are unhappy with it.