Anger Over Civilian Killings Continues to Grow in Afghanistan

Protests Expected to Worsen as Escalation Raises Civilian Toll

A massive protest today against the late December killing of 10 Afghan civilians by NATO contractors in Kunar Province was the latest in an ever-growing string of protests against the continued NATO operation.

It came just one day after a smaller rally in nearby Nangarhar Province after five civilians died in what US forces chalked up to “unexploded ordinance,” but which at least one witness attributed to the US forces at the site at the time.

It is expected that the number and intensity of these protests will continue to grow as President Obama’s escalation further increases violence and likely the civilian toll as well.

At least one analyst expressed annoyance that civilians protested against NATO but not against the Taliban, and NATO has repeatedly claimed that the Taliban actually kill somewhat more civilians than they do.

NATO’s data on civilian deaths has been extremely dubious in the past, severely undercounting the number of people killed in air strikes and declaring others suspects in questionable circumstances. But even this is really beside the point, as NATO continues to insist that the Taliban are deliberately targeting civilians as a matter of course. Given their own claims about the Taliban, it would seem that killing only incrementally fewer civilians than them is not even close to “good enough” or worthy of praise from the Afghan public.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.