Civilian deaths in Afghanistan are up over 30%. This is despite an almost one-third reduction in civilian deaths caused by Nato forces or by the Afghan Government forces. What’s more, according to a Reuters report:
The Taliban and other insurgents, described collectively in the U.N. report as “anti-government elements” (AGEs), were responsible for 76 percent, or 2,477, of deaths. The report found that there were 386 casualties attributed to “pro-government forces”, down to 12 percent of the total from 30 percent the year before.
That’s right. More than 3 out of every 4 civilian deaths in Afghanistan are attributed to the Taliban. What’s more, says the UN’s top official in Afghanistan, the Taliban are guilty both of indiscriminate bombing and of using human shields.
Despite the use of human shields and the habit of launching offensives from civilian areas by the Taliban, deaths from Nato aerial bombing were down almost two-thirds to 69. In other words – though it is grim to reduce the death of a civilian to a statistic – for every Afghan civilian who dies in a Nato aerial attack (keeping in mind the Taliban tactic of drawing Nato fire towards civilians) 35 more are murdered by the Taliban.
Civilian victims of Afghan war ‘rises by 31% in six months’
UN report released today expresses concern that the human cost of conflict is ‘paid too heavily by civilians’
Without an up-front contextualisation of who is doing the killing, and the suggestion that it is an abstract – “the conflict” – that is the real cause, is it any wonder people have a skewed impression of the war in Afghanistan? The withdrawal of coalition forces will undoubtedly stop “the conflict” (or some of it) but it won’t stop the killing of civilians. The Taliban were a terrorist government and they will be again if they’re not opposed, and preferably destroyed.
Sometimes ‘conflict’ is a good thing, particularly when it goes head-to-head with anti-humanitarian fascists. The notion that simply withdrawing from a fight “ends conflict” is the idiocy of the Stop The War Coalition and conceited mad tramps like Brian Haw and his merry band of addled imbeciles. Conflict always produces innocent victims, but sometimes the alternative is worse.
That a group like the Taliban exists at all is an almost unbearable reminder of the worst part of humanity. To allow it to be in power is unconscionable.