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).