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The Boston Globe

World

UN cites more US drone strikes in Afghanistan

Civilian deaths dropped 12% overall last year

KABUL — The number of US drone strikes in Afghanistan rose sharply last year compared with 2011, the United Nations said Tuesday. The increase was a sign that unmanned aircraft are taking a greater role as Americans try to streamline the fight against insurgents while preparing to withdraw combat forces in less than two years.

Drones have become a major source of contention between the United States and countries like Pakistan, where covert strikes on militant leaders have drawn condemnation and allegations of sovereignty infringements as family members and other bystanders are killed.

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