Source AP ©

Civilian casualties caused by NATO forces at 'alarming levels' in Afghan

Civilian casualties caused by NATO troops in Afghanistan reached "alarming levels" this year. The U.N.'s top human rights officer, Louise Arbour, called for international forces to pay compensation money for victims.

Louise Arbour said she is also concerned about the high rates of casualties caused by militants, but also those caused by international forces.

"These not only breach international law but are eroding support among the Afghan community for the government and international military presence as well as public support in contributing states for continued engagement in Afghanistan," U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Arbour said in a statement.

Arbour, wrapping up a six-day trip to Afghanistan, said she was persuaded in private meetings that NATO's top commanders in Afghanistan are aware of the significance of the issue.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has repeatedly pleaded with international forces to do all they can to prevent civilian casualties.

An Associated Press count of such casualties this year found that militants had caused 346 deaths while international troops had caused 337 deaths through the end of October.

Arbour also said the issue of women's rights in Afghanistan has stalled "despite the promise of the post-Taliban era," and that women continue to suffer disproportionately.

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