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Tuesday, January 01, 2008


Surprising statistic for 2007 - deaths in Afghanistan

Even though I just noted the deaths of 748 U.S. and NATO soldiers in Afghanistan, even I hadn't realized this:
U.S. military deaths, suicide bombings and opium production hit record highs in 2007.
Indeed, here are the statistics showing the steady rise of Western fatalities since the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. After a steady level for the first four years (12 in just one or two months of 2001, 69 in 2002, 57 in 2003, 58 in 2004), there has been a dramatic rise: 130 in 2005, 191 in 2006, and 231 in 2007. Only the palest shadow of this level of increased violence in Afghanistan has been reflected in the press.

Civilian deaths in Afghanistan? There were already more than 3,000 by March, 2002, the result of U.S. bombing. Since then, it's hard to pin down cumulative statistics. But the AP article above has some interesting data (source unknown). It claims "Afghanistan in 2007 saw record violence that killed more than 6,500 people." Of those 231 were Western troops, 4,500 of them "militants" (i.e., alleged resistance fighters), and 925 Afghan policemen. That leaves nearly another thousand civilians, just in 2007. The article talks about "record suicide bombings," but when citing the significant ones, it mentions one in February, one in June, and one in November, totaling 135 people. Add in an equal amount for "smaller suicide bombings," and we still have another 600 or so Afghan civilians killed by U.S./NATO bombing and other military action in 2007. Not to mention whatever portion of those 4,500 "militants" weren't "militants" at all, but civilians, killed when U.S./NATO forces bombed "houses hiding militants" without the slightest idea of who else might be inside.

Doesn't sound like a lot? It would if one of those 600 (or more) people were a member of your family.

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