Attrition: Russians Still Killing Afghans


April 9,2008: Last year, 2,100 Afghan civilians were killed, over 90 percent of them by the Taliban and Russians. Most (about 60 percent) of the dead civilians were killed by the Taliban. Some were the victims of suicide bombs, or roadside bombs, or used as human shields. Others were killed by Taliban death squads, intent on terrorizing civilians to cooperate with the Islamic radicals. About five percent were killed by Afghan security forces and foreign troops, when they were caught in the crossfire (of bullets or smart bombs). Another 29 percent were killed by Russian mines and explosive left over from the 1980s war. Some of those mines and shells were left by various Afghan factions during the civil war of the 1990s.

In the past two decades, about 370,00 mines and other explosive devises have been disposed of. Over 90 percent of these items are anti-personnel mines, most of them of Russian manufacture. The demining effort continues, most of it paid for by the United States.


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