US strikes causing civilian casualties more than double in Afghanistan

The number of US strikes leading to civilian casualties has more than doubled in the first nine months of this year compared to the previous one, a UN report has found, in a trend it has called "worrying".

The report, by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (Unama), said that the civilian casualty toll from strikes, both Afghan and US, had already surpassed that of all other entire years since they began recording casualties in 2009.

The UN body found strikes between January and September killed 313 civilians and injured a further 336, with the US responsible for just over half of these. As a whole, the number of civilian casualties from strikes rose by 39 per cent.

The report comes shortly after the UN announced two strikes had likely both killed mostly women and children belonging to the same families.

Data recently obtained by the Bureau shows that the US carried out strikes in the provinces where the civilian casualties occurred and on the same days, however a US spokesperson has said that there were "no connections" between their actions and the allegations.

There is no clear explanation as to why civilian casualties from strikes have risen. It could be down to an increase in air operations, but, until last month, we had been unable to get strike data from the US.

Data released by the US Air Force does show that strikes in July were at their highest since November 2010, but since then, the usual monthly data has stopped.