June 20, 2010 / 1:44 AM / 10 years ago

U.N. confirms rise in violence in Afghanistan

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Violence in Afghanistan has continued to increase in recent months, as has the use of improvised explosive devices and suicide attacks, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a new report.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon smiles as he attends a news conference in Vienna April 8, 2010. REUTERS/Herwig Prammer

Ban’s latest quarterly report to the 15-nation U.N. Security Council, released on Saturday, confirmed what NATO powers fighting in Afghanistan have suggested — that the country is increasingly dangerous nearly nine years after a U.S.-led invasion toppled the Taliban government.

“The overall security situation has not improved,” said the report, which was posted on the U.N. Security Council website.

“Indiscriminate anti-government element attacks against civilian targets, government representatives and international military forces continued,” the report said.

The “alarming trend of increased improvised explosive device incidents and the occurrence of complex suicide attacks persisted,” it said. “Military operations also intensified.”

Most of the security incidents in recent months have involved armed clashes and improvised roadside explosives, which have proven especially deadly in both Iraq and Afghanistan, the report said.

“The rise in incidents involving improvised explosive devices constitutes an alarming trend, with the first four months of 2010 recording a 94 percent increase compared to the same period in 2009,” Ban’s report said.

There have been some three suicide attacks per week, half of them in the south of the country, it said.

There are also an average of two more complex suicide attacks per month — bigger operations involving more assailants — double the average for 2009, the report said.

“The shift to more complex suicide attacks demonstrates a growing capability of the local terrorist networks linked to al Qaeda,” it said.

Insurgents followed up their threats against the civilian population with an average of seven assassinations per week, the majority of which were conducted in the south and southeastern regions.

“This constitutes a 45 percent increase, compared to the same period in 2009,” Ban’s report said.

Editing by Todd Eastham

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