More Afghan Civilians Killed by Afghan, International Forces than Taliban in First 6 Months of 2019 at Same Time U.S. Planning to Decrease Troops in Country

  • The U.N. released a report on Tuesday stating that more Afghan civilians were killed by Afghan and international coalition forces than by the Taliban and other insurgents in the first part of 2019.
  • The U.N. mission report “apparently refers to civilians killed during Afghan and U.S. military operations against insurgents, such as airstrikes and night raids on militant hideouts. Insurgents often hide among civilians.”
  • This is the first time since the war started 18 years ago that this has been the case and comes at a time when the U.S. has launched a strong air campaign against the Taliban, although the U.S. stopped its official combat mission in the country in 2014.
  • The U.S. continues to provide “extensive air and other support to Afghan forces battling militants.”
  • According to the report, 403 civilians were killed by Afghan forces in the first half of 2019, 314 were killed by international forces. This 717 is in comparison to the 531 killed by the Taliban and other militants during the same time.
  • The U.N. reported “300 of those killed by militants were directly targeted. The Taliban have been carrying out near-daily attacks, mainly targeting security forces.”
  • According to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (Unama), “air strikes, mostly carried out by American warplanes, killed 363 people, including 89 children, in the first six months of the year.”
  • An anonymous U.N. official said: “We thoroughly investigate every allegation of civilian casualties, and we train the Afghan security forces to ensure that they take utmost caution in order not to harm civilians.”
  • In the meantime, the U.S. is negotiating with the Taliban to secure a deal to withdraw American troops from the area “while simultaneously carrying out an intense air campaign against them.”
  • Additionally, militants have refused to cooperate in negotiations with the Afghan government “until there is an agreed timetable for the U.S. withdrawal.”
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday that President Trump wants to decrease the number of troops in Afghanistan before the 2020 presidential election.
  • There are fears that the U.S. “might rush into a deal with the Taliban to allow at least a partial withdrawal of troops before the U.S. election, despite any concerns its Afghan government partners might have.”
  • The U.S. is trying to get a deal done with the Taliban by September and has already started negotiations with the organization in Qatar.

Reference Links

  • BBC: Afghanistan war: UN says more civilians killed by allies than insurgents READ
  • The Guardian: More Afghan civilians killed by government and Nato than Taliban READ
  • Gandhara: UN: Afghan Civilians Dying At ‘Shocking’ Level READ
  • U.S. News & World Report: UN Says Afghan Forces, Allies Killed Most Civilians in 2019 READ

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