A recent study has revealed that airstrikes carried out in Afghanistan by the United States have increased by 330% since 2017.
The year 2019 will go down as one of the worst in the history in the 19-year-long conflict, a study by the Costs of War Project at Brown University has shown, with 700 civilians killed in various military operations over the course of the year. According to BBC, it is the highest tally since the early stages of the US invasion following the 9/11 attacks in 2001.
One explanation touted by researchers is that airstrikes have risen in order to compensate for the withdrawal of ground troops, but the need to keep pressure on the Taliban to negotiate a peace deal cannot be discounted. In a February 2020 negotiation, the US promised to reduce the number of troops on the ground and pull back on airstrikes.
However, the Costs of War Project also found that the Afghan military has stepped up its own airstrikes after negotiations with the US.
“[The Afghan Air Force is] harming more Afghan civilians than at any time in its history,” the paper says.
And the first half of 2020 has not been good for Afghan civilians either, with 86 killed and 103 injured in Afghanistan airstrikes this year, according to the most recent figures cited in the study.
What’s truly frightening, however, is the way that the war has affected the children of Afghanistan, with five being either killed or wounded every single day since 2014, according to the Save the Children charity. Since 2005, 26,025 children have been killed or maimed.
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