Friday, June 29, 2012

Civilian death toll in Afghanistan anyones guess

Believe it or not, this is a common sight in photojournalist accounts of the Afghanistan war: US-NATO soldiers skulking “insurgents” (in Pentagon-speak, those who oppose occupation are insurgents) while children are nearby in the line of fire. Here a boy is trying to retrieve a spent brass cartridge casing which can be sold. Civilian deaths of Afghanis are not reported; they are actually not even counted by the military but are estimated by other agencies. So there is no overall accounting of those killed but the estimates are in the tens of thousands either directly from bombing, troop massacres, land mines, or reckless endangerment as shown here or indirectly from displacement, starvation, disease, lack of medical treatment. For the past five years, the UN has released an annual report on civilian deaths, 77% of which they attribute mainly to the Taliban. They also claim civilian deaths by US-NATO troops are mainly from Afghan government soldiers. When the Taliban denounced the report as war propaganda they should have added racist war propaganda. (Photo by Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

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