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NATO Killing Most Afghan Civilians Ever

From USA Today:

Afghans walk by a house destroyed in a suicide bombing the previous night in Kandahar, south of Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, April 16, 2010.

NATO strikes killing more Afghan civilians

By Paul Wiseman, USA TODAY

April 16, 2010

KABUL — Deaths of Afghan civilians by NATO troops have more than doubled this year, NATO statistics show, jeopardizing a U.S. campaign to win over the local population by protecting them against insurgent attacks.

NATO troops accidentally killed 72 civilians in the first three months of 2010, up from 29 in the same period in 2009, according to figures the International Security Assistance Force gave USA TODAY. The numbers were released after Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, issued measures to protect ordinary Afghans.

A Red Cross report out Thursday said the number of civilians killed and wounded by Taliban roadside bombs has soared in Kandahar, where NATO and Afghan forces are preparing for a major offensive against the insurgent stronghold.

Some Afghans say the rise in civilian deaths may help the enemy. "If (it) continues, people will abandon the government and join the Taliban," says Malalai Ishaqzai, a member of parliament.

Why should this help the Taliban? The Taliban kill far more civilians than does NATO and the US. (See below.)

McChrystal has limited the use of airstrikes and raids on households that put civilians at risk. The emphasis on protecting non-combatants is part of a strategy to win the public’s support.

It appeared to be working: Civilian deaths at the hands of U.S.-led troops dropped 28% in 2009 to 596, according to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan…

NATO forces have reduced airstrikes, which accounted for 61% of the civilians killed by NATO and Afghan forces last year, according to the U.N. mission. But civilians continue to be endangered…

Night raids are another risk, says Ahmad Nader Nadery, a member of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission. On Feb. 12, NATO and Afghan troops searching for a Taliban member killed five civilians in a night raid. In response, McChrystal ordered troops last month to avoid night raids on homes when possible.

In other words, we are putting our own soldiers at tremendous risk by giving away all of our tactical advantages – and for what?

Civilians are still being killed, in fact, now more than ever.

Civilian deaths undermine NATO efforts to win Afghan loyalty, says Seth Jones, a counterinsurgency specialist at the Rand think tank. However, he says the Taliban is to blame for most civilian deaths (67% last year, the U.N. mission says) and the United States should emphasize that fact.

The Red Cross said the Mirwais Hospital in Kandahar admitted up to 40% more patients wounded by Taliban bombs in the first two months of the year compared with the same period last year.

Isn’t it funny how we don’t hear that the Taliban are killing civilians at a far greater clip than NATO is, until the last two paragraphs of the article?

Still, how is any of this even possible?

As we observed back in August 2007, Mr. Obama announced that he would be sure to send enough to Afghanistan so that we could do more than just air raid villages and kill civilians:

Obama: U.S. Troops in Afghanistan Must Do More Than Kill Civilians

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

HANOVER, N.H. — Presidential hopeful Barack Obama was warned by a friendly voter Monday to avoid public spats with his Democratic rivals — but remarks he made later could add fuel to the criticism against him…

Asked whether he would move U.S. troops out of Iraq to better fight terrorism elsewhere, he brought up Afghanistan and said, “We’ve got to get the job done there and that requires us to have enough troops so that we’re not just air-raiding villages and killing civilians, which is causing enormous pressure over there.” …

So why hasn’t he done this?

He made it sound so easy.

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, April 16th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

2 Responses to “NATO Killing Most Afghan Civilians Ever”

  1. proreason says:

    This is ok, because Obamy means well.

    He is only doing it for the good of the world.

    Unlike Bushhitler who was lining Halliburton’s coffers and getting back at Sadaam Hussein for whatever.

    We are moral now. These little collateral fall-outs are perfectly ok.

  2. canary says:

    Notice the article failed to even just one of many U.S. and NATO soldiers killed and blown up during the same time period.

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