Tuesday, July 13, 2010
The Afghanistan Rights Monitor (ARM), an Afghan human-rights group, stated yesterday that 2010 was the worst year in terms of violence for the country since US-led troops occupied the country in 2001.
The ARM says that civilian deaths have risen and that Taliban insurgents have not been defeated despite a surge in troops in Afghanistan. “In terms of insecurity, 2010 has been the worst year since the demise of the Taliban regime in late 2001. Not only have the number of security incidents increased, the space and depth of the insurgency and counter-insurgency-related violence have maximised dramatically,” the ARM said.
ARM’s figures state that over 1,074 civilians were killed and over 1,500 wounded in war violence in the first half of this year, an slight increase over 1,059 deaths in the same time period in 2009. “Up to 1,200 security incidents were recorded in June, the highest number of incidents compared to any month since 2002,” the ARM commented.
According to the ARM, over half of civilian deaths in the first six months of this year were caused by Taliban insurgents that showed “little or no respect for the safety and protection of non-combatants in their armed rebellion against the government and its foreign supporters.” The group also said that the second highest cause of civilian deaths were suicide attacks by the Taliban. The suicide attacks killed 127 people. Also, the ARM reported that a reduction of US and NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) air strikes reduced their share of civilians killed. The air strike reduction had been ordered by the former commander of foreign forces, General Stanley McChrystal, who was fired by US president Barack Obama for making rude comments about top White House government officials.
In December of last year, US president Barack Obama sent an additional 30,000 soldiers into the country in an effort to halt the Taliban’s influence in the region. However, the ARM says in its mid-year report, titled “Civilian Casualties of Conflict”, that the move failed to have any lasting effect, and that “the insurgency has become more resilient, multi-structured and deadly”.
According to the ARM, most of the injuries and deaths were attributed homemade bombs — otherwise known as improvised explosive devices. These bombs are considered the Taliban’s main weapon.
140,000 soldiers from both the US and NATO are stationed in Afghanistan; another 10,000 are scheduled to enter the landlocked Asian country in the next few weeks. Over 350 US and NATO troops have been killed so far this year, compared with 520 last year. Over 30 troops have been killed in the first 12 days of July.