Taliban Massacre of 10 Aid Workers Only Tip of Iceberg

08/11/2010 12:31 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The murder of ten medical workers trying to provide desperately needed care to impoverished Afghans has focused attention on the tactics used by the Taliban.

The number of civilians killed this year is up by nearly a third, and 76 percent of the killings were by "anti-government elements," a U.N. report released Tuesday said. NATO and its allies were responsible for 12 percent.

The Guardian published a database that showed that of the 6472 killed by government or insurgents since 2007, 65 percent were killed by the Taliban and its allies. NATO and its allies were responsible for 35 percent.

"This is a wakeup call for us. By looking at the figures we suddenly have a trend of increase which we have the duty to raise publicly, in particular with those who are causing these deaths," said Staffan de Mistura told a news conference Tuesday in Kabul.

Al Jazeera reported the Taliban had claimed responsibility for a new suicide bomb attack in Kabul on Tuesday in which five civilians were killed.

The Taliban's brazen claim that it killed the ten medical workers, six Americans, one German, one Briton, and two Afghans, leaves no doubt that the rising toll of civilian deaths is intentional. The kill one, scare 10,000 is a strategy often used in war zones.

The number of civilians killed by insurgents is up 50 percent in the first six months of this year. The figures also tend to support NATO claims that they are attempting to reduce civilian casualties.

Even if the numbers and cases disclosed by Wikileaks is true, the new figures indicate that the Taliban is far more dangerous.

The U.N. report said 1,271 civilians were killed during the first half of the year. Insurgent bombs were responsible for 61 percent. Deaths from NATO airstrikes were down 64 percent, killing 69 civilians.