Civilian Casualties Increase 23% in Afghanistan, the Purposeless and Never-Ending War

John Glaser, July 31, 2013

Troops landing

A UN report documents 1,319 civilian deaths and 2,533 injuries in Afghanistan in the first six months of 2013, a 23 percent increase over the same period in 2012. The study finds “a 14 percent increase in deaths, 28 percent increase in injuries and 23 percent increase in total civilian casualties.”

Most of the civilian casualties, according to the report, came from what are called “Anti-Government Elements” (74 percent). But civilian casualties by U.S.-NATO forces can be hard to substantiate when these authorities flatly deny accusations.

Take, for example, an issue Jason Ditz covers in today’s news section:

Months after loudly dismissing the allegations of Wardak civilians that U.S. Special Forces have been kidnapping, torturing and killing them, the U.S. Army has announced that it has begun a new investigation into the claim[s] under orders from Gen. Dunford, the commander for troops in occupied Afghanistan.

Afghan officials loudly demanded the U.S. withdraw from Wardak Province over the allegations in February, but quickly dropped the demand when NATO insisted the allegations were false.

The issue didn’t die down, however, as civilian bodies kept being found outside the U.S. base and a tape eventually emerged showing the torture of a local civilian, whose body was later found in a ditch near the base.

In any case, the question of how to put an end to the suffering of Afghan civilians is more and more pertinent as casualties increase. Hawks in Washington insist U.S. forces stay in there, continue the nation-building project, and beat back the insurgency. That’ll do it, right!?

No. A decade of doing exactly that with worsening results should indicate as much. The Kabul government we’re propping up is weak. The Afghan army is feeble and untenable. And the insurgency is alive and well after years of counter-insurgency.

Pentagon sources say the “zero option” of withdrawing all U.S. troops in 2014 that has floated into the press in recent weeks is off the table. That means the military occupation of Afghanistan and the propping up of this corrupt and decrepit government will continue, as planned, until about 2024. This means the armed insurgency will also continue for another decade, which therefore means Afghan civilians will continue to suffer – seemingly indefinitely. They largely have America to thank for it.

At this point, the obstinate continuation of the war parallels the perpetuation of the Vietnam War. The Pentagon Papers proved what had been long suspected, that the horrible, murderous war was kept going primarily for the sake of the political reputation of the leadership in Washington. They didn’t want to “lose” a war. So they lied to Americans about how important “victory” was and how achievable it was.

There is no victory in Afghanistan. The “zero option” is the only option: get out fast.

11 Responses to “Civilian Casualties Increase 23% in Afghanistan, the Purposeless and Never-Ending War”

  1. It's amazing how little has changed over the last 12 years in Afghanistan. Use the Way Back Machine for this website to a random year within that timespan and you'll see that the U.S. has acheived absolutely nothing and that the fundmental problems remain the same. The MSM will continue to suggest the U.S. will be out in 2014 until that year passes… and then presumably just stop talking about Afghanistan entirely.

    Anyhow, keep up the great work.

  2. […] Civilian Casualties Increase 23% in Afghanistan […]

  3. Many have concluded that this US-led war in Afghanistan cannot be justified under the popular yet tired national security banner in use by the government and disseminated to and popularized by the media…the so-called war on terror. Afghanistan had no role in 9/11 and were once allies in the fight against a Cold War Soviet Union. Some analysts suggest a link between our occupation and failing negotiations with the Taliban over the Trans-Afghan-Pipeline (TAP). When Bridas of Argentina got the upper-hand in the negotiations, Washington opted for regime-change in order to achieve a favorable position in the negotiations with a sympathetic hand picked ruler.

  4. No one ever mentions the heroin business in relation to Afghanistan……

  5. […] From Antiwar: […]

  6. Excellent article! We will be linking to this great content on
    our website. Keep up the good writing.

  7. It is wrong to call this war purposeless. It has the same purpose as the Vietnam and Iraq wars: to provide a feeding frenzy for weapons manufacturers and all the rest of the corporations that supply the operations. It means exotic assignments for years on end for all the aid industry, the good-cops in this drama. This is why nobody ever seriously asks why Afghanistan was invaded or why the fall of Vietnam to the Communists had so few serious consequences after all, because everybody knows that this is just one big happening that everybody concerned just goes along with. That is what the gentile herd does, follow. The "purposes" are always such a fraud that though they are often referred to with jargon, they are never seriously discussed, before or after.

  8. Many have concluded that this US-led war in Afghanistan cannot be justified under the popular yet tired national security banner in use by the government and disseminated to and popularized by the media…the so-called war on terror.

  9. Those murders were committed by Afghan special forces not U.S. good job misleading your readers.

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