Over 900 Children Killed in Afghanistan in 2016

Record Child Deaths Fueled by Airstrikes

15 years into the US-led occupation, the civilian death toll in Afghanistan continues to get worse, with the most recent UN Assistance Mission annual report showing 923 children, a record for the war, were killed in the last year, a 25% increase over the already large numbers in 2015.

Civilians have been getting killed at a staggering rate for years, ever-worsening figures driven by constant fighting in and around populated area, and what rights groups have repeatedly described as a lack of effort to avoid letting civilians get swept up in their endless war.

UN officials are blaming this most recent surge in civilian deaths on two things, an increase in foreign (read: US) airstrikes and an ever-growing array of mines, explosives, and general munitions scattered around the country by decades of war.

While a lot of the emphasis among Western officials was on the mines, and improvised explosives planted by rebels, the airstrikes have really been driving the death toll more significantly, with the number of civilians slain in airstrikes the highest since they started keeping track, and double that of the previous year.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. 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.