Analysis: Hearts, Minds, and Afghan Body Counts
Council on Foreign Relations
May 10, 2007
Prepared by: Lionel Beehner
These attacks have prompted a number of anti-U.S. protests, while Afghan newspapers have published blistering editorials accusing NATO and the United States of “war crimes.” Lawmakers are calling for more oversight. Even President Hamid Karzai condemned the attacks and said his patience with foreign forces was “wearing thin.”
The dramatic rise in civilian casualties reflects the fact that the Taliban are hiding out among civilian populations in greater numbers. More civilians are also dying in suicide bombings, according to an April 2007 Human Rights Watch (HRW) report. “As in Iraq, suicide bombers in Afghanistan have driven a wedge between ordinary people and the government,” writes Newsweek. The HRW study finds that roughly seven hundred Afghan civilians died at the hands of the Taliban and other groups last year, while about 230 innocents were killed—unintentionally—by U.S. or coalition forces. So far in 2007, 238 civilians have been killed by the fighting, over a hundred of them the result of U.S. or NATO attacks, according to the Associated Press.
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