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article imageUS and allies killing more Afghan civilians than the Taliban

By Ken Hanly     Apr 25, 2019 in World
The most recent UN report on civilian deaths in Afghanistan during the US occupation indicates that so far this year the US and its allied forces have killed more civilians in the country than the Taliban has.
Less civilian deaths overall
The increase in the number of civilians killed by the US and allies is due to an increasing number of US and Afghan airstrikes. However, the total number is down because of a change in tactics by the Taliban. There has been a massive decrease in the number of suicide attacks by the Taliban which often killed civilians. However, the number of deaths from improvised explosive devices (IEDs) has increased.
Taliban gaining territory with less reliance on suicide terror attacks
The Taliban now are winning battles for territory on the ground. This means they need to rely less on terror-inducing suicide attacks. On the other side, the US and Afghan forces are becoming more desperate especially as their ground operations are not going well. As a result they are increasing the number of airstrikes to try and stem their losses. This results in more civilian casualties.
The numbers
The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) released its first quarterly report to find that Afghan and US forces killed more civilians than the Taliban, the first time this has happened since the group began tracking civilian casualties a decade ago.
The US and Afghan forces were responsible for 53 percent of civilian deaths.
In the first quarter, between January 1 and March 31 this year UNAMA recorded 305 civilian deaths and 303 injuries that were attributed to pro-government forces. This is a 39 percent jump from the same period last year.
The report states: “Continuing trends observed in 2018, UNAMA documented increased harm to civilians from aerial and search operations, with the highest number of civilian casualties recorded from each of these tactic types in the first quarter of any year since UNAMA began systematic documentation the report states."
Effect of airstrikes
Pro-government forces carried out 43 air operations during the first quarter killing 145 and injuring 83 civilians the report claims. Half of the casualties in the attacks were women and children including a March 23 airstrike on Kunduz that killed 13 civilians, 10 of them children and 2 women.
Suicide attack deaths down but IED casualties up
While suicide bombings were down, the casualties from improvised explosive devices were up. The attacks spiked 21 percent with 53 deaths and 269 injuries.
The UNAMA report notes: “The overall reduction of civilian casualties was driven by a decrease in civilian casualties by suicide [IED] attacks. UNAMA notes the particularly harsh winter conditions during the first three months of the year, which may have contributed to this trend. It is unclear whether the decrease in civilian casualties was influenced by any measures taken by parties to the conflict to better protect civilians, or by the ongoing talks between parties to the conflict.”
The US has expressed regret for the increase in Afghan civilian deaths as reported in a recent Digital Journal article.
More about Afghan civilian deaths, US in Afghanistan, US airstrikes in Afghanistan
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