Audio: Sonali Kolhatkar interviews Kathy Kelly
More civilians have died in Afghanistan in the first half of this year than a year ago, bucking a trend toward greater security in the war-torn nation. A new United Nations report finds that civilian deaths and injuries are up by nearly a quarter and that a great number of those are a result of heightened fighting between Afghan government forces and the Taliban in anticipation of US troop withdrawals.
The report also pointed out that women and children were disproportionately affected by the violence.
The Taliban which realizes it is suffering a crisis in public relations from the casualties, rejected the report saying that it does not count government workers as “civilians.”
Speaking to the LA Times, an Afghan military analyst placed blame on US and NATO forces too, saying “neither side respects civilian life.”
Meanwhile today, Secretary of State John Kerry is visiting Pakistan and said he expects to complete a security agreement with Afghanistan allowing US forces to remain beyond 2014.
GUEST: Kathy Kelly, co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence and travels regularly to Afghanistan where she works closely with the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers
Visit www.vcnv.org and www.ourjourneytosmile.org for more information.