Monday, November 19, 2007

Why do we kill more civilians than Taliban do?

The Washington Post asks a burning question
Few news outlets put the question as baldly as does the Washington Post:

According to U.N. figures, 314 civilians were killed by international and Afghan government forces in the first six months of this year, while 279 civilians were killed by the insurgents.

So why on Earth are the NATO and U.S. forces and their Afghan allies killing more civilians than the Taliban? One explanation can be found in the relatively low number of Western boots on the ground. ... So the West has to rely far more heavily on airstrikes in Afghanistan, which inevitably exact a higher toll in civilian casualties. Indeed, the Associated Press found that U.S. and NATO forces launched more than 1,000 airstrikes in Afghanistan in the first six months of 2007 alone -- four times as many airstrikes as U.S. forces carried out in Iraq during that period.
Readers may recall that in his recent report to the Security Council, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon included an estimate of over 75 civilians killed by air a ground operations in the month of September alone.

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