U.S., Allies Responsible for Most Marjah Civilian Casualties
According to the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, U.S. and Allied forces have killed and injured more civilians than have the insurgents during Operation Moshtarak. Incredibly, the Pentagon continues to insist that this operation "protects the people." AIHRC's Feb. 23 press release reports [h/t Josh Mull, our new Afghanistan blog fellow]:
"AIHRC is concerned at the loss of life and civilian harm already caused by this operation. AIHRC found that in the first 12 days of Operation Mushtarak 28 civilians, including 13 children, were killed and approximately 70 civilians, including 30 children, were injured.
"Witnesses suggested the majority of the casualties were caused by PGF artillery and rocket-fire."
Late last year, just after the President announced his escalation, I wrote:
The president’s decision to add more troops is a mistake that will result in deep costs which we cannot afford; increased U.S. casualties; and increased civilian casualties as our troop increase further raises the temperature in the conflict.
A separate update from Brookings shows that President Obama's escalation and subsequent military operations have indeed raised the temperature of the conflict, increasing the level of violence across Afghanistan:
“In terms of raw violence, the situation is at a historic worst level, with early 2010 levels of various types of attacks much higher than even last year at this time. Much of that is due to the recent Marja campaign and, more generally, the deployment of additional U.S. (and Afghan) troops to parts of the country where they have not been present before.”
War does not protect civilians. War doesn't make us safer. The Afghanistan war needs to end, now.
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