War has directly resulted in the deaths of 149,000 people in Afghanistan and Pakistan between 2001 and 2014, according to estimates in a new report released by Costs of War project at Brown University’s Watson Institute. That figure includes U.S. military members, contractors, and opposition fighters – as well as at least 26,270 civilians in Afghanistan, and 21,500 in Pakistan.
These figures illustrate not only the drastic human cost of the U.S.-led 'War on Terror' that in Afghanistan since 2001 – but also that the war is not over.
"While the US formally ended combat operations in Afghanistan in December 2014, U.S. uniformed troops remain advising the Afghan security forces and engaging in combat," the study's author, Boston University professor Neta Crawford notes. "The war has not diminished in intensity. Rather, in several ways, most notably, in the numbers of civilians and Afghan military and police killed, the war has escalated."
Figures included in the report show that civilian deaths in Afghanistan appear to have grown over the past few years.
While the study finds that the vast and growing majority of these civilians appear to have been killed by anti-government forces, Crawford observes that a downwards trend in the number of civilians killed by pro-government forces appears to be reversing.
Crawford notes that civilian deaths are often harder to record that military deaths, and that there are other ways that war has damaged the fabric of Afghan life, most notably by causing injuries or displacing people from their homes.
The report also emphasizes that the conflict in Pakistan is heavily affected and has resulted in a high number of casualties as well, with a total of 57,000 killed versus 92,000 in Afghanistan. Many of these were non-combatants, the study finds. “Civilians in Pakistan’s northwest and throughout the country commonly fall victim to violence by all parties of the fighting,” notes Crawford.
Importantly, U.S. drone strikes are responsible for an unknown amount of that, with estimates of numbers killed ranging between 1,900 and 3,800, with between 5 to 73 percent of those deaths being civilians.
Cost of War's latest report was released on the same day that gunmen killed nine in an attack on aid workers in Balkh, Northern Afghanistan. According to the study, 298 aid workers have been killed in Afghanistan since 2015. You can see the latest numbers Cost of War here.
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