Current Affairs Military Politics

US-Led Forces Kill More Afghan Civilians Than The Taliban Or Islamic State

The revelation by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) that American-backed government forces have killed more civilians in the first three months of 2019 than the armed opposition is indicative of how finely balanced the conflict has become in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. The formerly insurgent Taliban, which is once again emphasising its self-styled status as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, now controls large swathes of territory and is consolidating that control by eliminating its would-be rivals, including the upstart Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – Khorasan Province.

According to the quarterly report by UNAMA, units belonging to the United States-led Resolute Support Mission and it local allies were responsible for the deaths of 305 civilians between January and the end of March. In contrast 227 civilians were killed by the Islamic Emirate and other insurgent/terrorist groupings, while 49 deaths were unattributed, mainly occurring during violent protests, confrontations or in crossfire. Despite these significant casualty figures, a spokesperson for the US military was quite dismissive of the concerns expressed by the UN and others.

“We reserve the right of self-defense of our forces as well as the Afghan Security Forces. The best way to end the suffering of non-combatants is to end the fighting through an agreed-upon reduction in violence on all sides.”

Which brings to mind the infamous statement by a British government minister during the twilight years of the Troubles or conflict in the north of Ireland, when he blamed the Irish Republican Army for the likelihood of civilian casualties during guerrilla attacks and not the British Army’s rapidly expanding use of human shields to protect its troops.

Meanwhile, the United States has taken further steps to hide the number of non-combatant deaths inflicted in its military drone strikes around the globe, with Donald Trump ordering an end to the publication of an annual report on these operations which was implemented by Barack Obama during his presidency. Which brings to the fore an important point often obscured in the discussion of the use of drones by nation-states like the United States, the United Kingdom and others.

When it comes to drone strikes, the U.S. government classifies all “military-aged males” as militants unless posthumous evidence explicitly proves otherwise. Essentially, this assumes that any man (or boy) in the vicinity of a known terrorist who appears to be between the ages of 14 and 60 is also a terrorist.

Which accounts for the ridiculously low casualty figures admitted for non-combatant deaths by the Pentagon and the ridiculously high figures claimed for enemy combatant deaths (which may average out as many as five civilians killed for every suspected terrorist assassinated in targeted operations by US forces and agencies over the last two decades).

6 comments on “US-Led Forces Kill More Afghan Civilians Than The Taliban Or Islamic State

  1. US army=Taliban=ISIS i.e all three are inextricably linked, as David Trimble used to say.


  2. Much of Trump’s agenda comes down to reversing everything Obama did. Even the fact that Obama’s efforts to leave Afghanistan only amounted to a draw down-ending a war is almost always 100x harder than starting one.

    The fact Obama tried at all means Trump wants to do the opposite-it’s the “oppositional defiant political syndrome”.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jim McGettigan

    ……..and your point is?


  4. Pat Murphy

    When writhing reports the author should familiarise themselves with the facts first. They should make sure that they get the titles of both sides of a conflict correct. In this case the author/s have made the fatal mistake of mixing up the name of the combatants. He/she does not seem capable of differentiating who was who. The true terrorists seem to me to be portrayed as some kind of victims while the real victims of these murderous atrocities are portrayed as terrorists. Ireland (et all) number two. Kitson still being read I see.(for gods sake don’t let google see this.)


    • How so, Pat? Where is the mistake?


      • Pat Murphy.

        Now now ASF, it’s obvious. The terrorists in Afghanistan are not the local freedom fighters who are trying to expel an invasion force of imperialist thugs but those from the “land of the free and the home of the brave”.and their “hero’s” of allies.


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