U.N.: 2011 Deadliest for Afghan Civilians

Afghan civilian deaths hit a record high in 2011, making it the worst year for them since the U.S. invasion began, according to a United Nations study released Saturday. The report said 3,021 civilians were killed in 2011, an 8 percent increase since 2010—and the fifth consecutive year that the number of deaths increased. The insurgency was responsible for 2,332 of the causalities, and civilians were often the target of the attacks rather than merely collateral damage from attacks on military personnel. The report attributed 400 of the deaths to NATO and Afghan forces, a small decrease from 2010, and said aerial attacks were responsible for about half of those deaths. The news comes just days after Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the U.S. would remove its combat forces from Afghanistan as early as mid-2013.