KABUL — More than 10,000 people, about a fifth of them civilians, lost their lives in violence in Afghanistan last year, an AFP count based on official figures and an independent website tally showed Sunday.
Afghanistan’s interior ministry spokesman Zemarai Bashary revealed new figures for the number of civilians, police and militants killed in 2010 — a total of 8,560 people.
In addition, the Afghan defense ministry said that 810 Afghan soldiers died in 2010, while independent website icasualties.org puts the total death toll for international troops last year at 711.
That brings the overall number of dead from the war last year to 10,081, according to an AFP calculation.
Afghanistan has been in the grip of a Taliban insurgency since the hardline Islamists were ousted by a US-led invasion in 2001 in the wake of the September 11 attacks in the United States.
The Taliban were accused of sheltering Al-Qaeda leaders linked to the attack.
Last year was the deadliest yet in Afghanistan’s nine-year war for international troops, according to the icasualties tally.
Bashary said his ministry had recorded 2,043 civilian deaths caused by Taliban attacks and military operations targeting the militants.
This is lower than the 2,412 Afghan civilian deaths in the first 10 months of 2010 identified in a United Nations report last month. It said the toll was up 20 percent on the same period in 2009.
The UN has yet to release its figures for the whole year.
The interior ministry spokesman added that 1,292 policemen were killed battling the Taliban and other insurgents last year.
Meanwhile, he said 5,225 militants were also killed in 2010 operations by the war-torn country’s security forces and their international backers, a NATO-led force of about 140,000 troops.
Limited, conditions-based international troop withdrawals are due to start in July 2011 ahead of a planned handover of responsibility for security to Afghan forces by 2014.