American President Donald Trump’s decision in 2017 to loosen military rules of engagement in Afghanistan, the rules that were meant to protect civilians took a sharp turn to an increase in the civilian casualties.

On Monday Brown University Watson Institute’s Costs of War Project, released a report that indicated a 330% increase in the number of civilians killed by US-led airstrikes from 2016 to 2019.

 “Some of this harm could be avoided by tighter rules of engagement, as well as better training. A negotiated ceasefire might also yield results at the bargaining table and at the same time avoid escalating harm to Afghan civilians from airstrikes.” the author of the report, Neta C. Crawford, said.

In 2007 to 2016, the Afghan government and US-led forces killed an average of 582 civilians, the report found.

During trump’s administration from 2017 till 2019, named forces killed an average of 1,134 civilians in one year, a 95% increase according to the report.

Civilian casualties have taken a dramatic increase due to the U.S. and allied forces airstrike, the report indicates.

The 2019 was the year 700 civilians were killed due to airstrikes, more civilians than in 2001 and 2002, the airstrikes decreased following the US-Taliban agreement in Doha, Qatar in February of 2020.

As strikes declined so the civilian casualties have decreased, report said.

According to the United Nations, US-led and Afghan government airstrikes killed more civilians than did Taliban militant attacks during the first half of 2019.

The new report found that as US-led bombings declined following the agreement reached with the Taliban in February 2020, Afghan government airstrikes have increased.

According to the report, “as a consequence, the Afghan Air Force (AAF) is harming more Afghan civilians than at any time in its history.”

The report says, “In the first six months of this year, the AAF killed 86 Afghan civilians and injured 103 civilians in airstrikes. That rate of harm nearly doubled in the next three months. Between July and the end of September, the Afghan Air Force killed 70 civilians and 90 civilians were injured,” adding that “As with the international airstrikes, some of this harm could be avoided by tighter rules of engagement, as well as better training.”

Per the highlights of the facts, total U.S. withdrawal of the infantry does not mean a decrease in the civilian casualties, the combat is one-sided, and may the airstrikes continue.

A total of 43,000 civilians were killed in the US-led war, the analysis of this report showed most civilians were killed by the Taliban, some civilians including children were victims of US, Allied, and Afghan government bombings and bullets.

Author

  • Mohammad Haroon Alim holds a BBA degree from Kardan University. He works as a sub-editor for Khaama Press.