Authors: Jeanette Torres
(NEW YORK) -- For the first time since 2007, the number of civilian casualties in the Afghanistan war has fallen.
According to figures compiled by the United Nations, there was a drop of more than 20 percent in deaths from January through April this year compared to the same period in 2011.
If the numbers are accurate, they could help ease tensions between the coalition and the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai who've long been at odds over the use of air strikes and night raids to go after the Taliban and its allies.
U.N. special representative for Afghanistan Jan Kubis said Wednesday that the Taliban was to blame for 79 percent of the 579 civilians killed during the first four months of 2012, with NATO and Afghan forces responsible for nine percent. That also represents a decrease since the coalition and national forces accounted for 14 percent of civilian deaths in 2011.
It's unclear what caused the remaining casualties.
If this pattern holds, the death toll of Afghan civilians could be well under the 3,021 killed in 2011.
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