The Costs of War: Afghan Civilian Casualties Spike, says ICRC

An important price of President Obama’s decision to pursue a big new military campaign in Afghanistan under the rubric of ‘counter-insurgency’ has been a spike in civilian casualties, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross. A new ICRC report notes,

‘ As the conflict has intensified and expanded geographically, civilian casualties have once again increased in comparison with previous years. Mirwais Regional Hospital in Kandahar, serving around four million people, has admitted over 2,650 weapon-wounded patients so far in 2010, compared with just over 2,100 in 2009. The seven ICRC prosthetic/orthotic centres have fitted close to 4,000 new patients with prostheses so far this year. Many of them lost their limbs as a result of fighting.’

That is, in this one hospital in one city, civilian casualties have increased by 21%.

Moreover, the fighting is displacing people from their homes into internal refugee camps or villages where they are living at the sufferance of relatives. The ICRC has had to provide 400,000 such displaced people with clean water to drink and 140,000 with food in the past year.

(h/t Borzou Daragahi of the LAT.

It is getting harder for aid organizations to operate in Afghanistan because the increased violence. And, it is not just a problem with Taliban. Armed Afghan groups on both sides of the conflict are proliferating, even in the formerly more peaceful north of the country. Narco-terrorism is a big part of this decline in security, along with the return of the old Mujahidin warlords (likely supported behind the scenes by the US and Germany).

4 Responses

  1. And Our National Interests and War Goals and Indicia of “Victory” for this profitable-for-a-few-but-futile-for-everyone-else are just what, again?

    Follow the money, remember the un-spun truth that War Is A Racket, and if you are not a “fighter” or a refugee, just a taxpayer ignorant of cause, effect and motivation, consider yourself blessed.

    Just the latest echo of American imperialism — take a look at the history of US Marines’ involvement in Central and South America and the Caribbean starting in the late 1800s — “interventions” behind smokescreens of “national interest” or “invitation by governments,” leading to exploitable chaos and kelptocracy.

    Now the latest Spandex rationale for keeping it going is that “Pakistan,” whatever that hypostatization-reification might be, needs to do “more,” to allow the US to achieve Victory in Notagainistan. Whatever that means. Go, Pakis! Win one for the Gipper!

  2. Glenn Greenwald had a wonderful interview with Nir Rosen, an anti-imperial journalist who has just finished a book on the horrific human cost of our exploits in Iraq and elsewhere in the Muslim world.

    Rosen notes that our stated objective of routing al Qaeda from Afghanistan was essentially achieved by 2002-2003. Since then, we have succeeded mainly in creating a “conflict economy” in which American money ends up funding the Taliban we are told we have to crush. An Iraq-style surge could never work in the rural areas of Afghanistan (and didn’t really work in Baghdad, either). We are squandering huge sums for essentially no tangible security gain.

    Rosen’s book deserves a wide audience, but it is not what the love-it-or-leave-it crowd wants to hear. As always, the destruction of civilian lives and livelihoods is conspicuously absent from our nightly television screens, to say nothing of Sunday sermons in conservative churches all across this “Christian” country. The poor Iraqis and Afghans are simply today’s Plains Indians and negro slaves – mere roadkill on the highway to Manifest Destiny.

Comments are closed.