In an AP story posted on the Dallas Morning News Site, "Soldier, civilian deaths from bombs soar in Afghanistan" posted on 12:00 am CDT on Wednesday, August 12, 2009, the paper (or the news-service) claimed that, "A recent U.N. report said at least 1,013 civilians were killed in the first six months of this year by insurgents bombs, compared with 818 for the same period in 2008 – a 24 percent increase."
I was suspicious of the article because it failed to mention that any civilians were killed by US/NATO forces or by soldiers of the government of Afghanistan.
It turns out that while the total civilian death toll (1,013) quoted by the AP/Dallas Morning News is the number reported by the UN, the UN Report, "Afghanistan: Mid Year Bulletin on Protection of
Civilians in Armed Conflict, 2009" (link leads to the PDF), actually says, "595 civilian deaths were attributed to AGE activities" (AGE stands for Anti-Government Elements), while civilian deaths attributable to Pro-Government Forces (including the US) totaled 310, including "200 civilian deaths arising from airstrikes." The report continues, "The remaining 108 (10.5%) could not be attributed to any of the parties to the conflict." Both The Star (from Canada) and the New York Times, reported on at least this portion of the UN report accurately.
By ascribing all the civilian carnage to the Taliban, the AP/Dallas Morning News misled its readers. I tried calling the paper to inform them of the error, and to find out if the mistake originated with the AP or the Dallas Morning News. The person I talked with at the Dallas Morning News said, "If it's wrong, talk with the AP about it." At the AP, I talked with Mike Stewart, who said he is not familiar with the story, but that he will look into it.
(I posted this originally at http://www.peaceworkmagazine.org/...