With the defeat of ISIS in most cities in Iraq and Syria reducing the number of potential targets for US airstrikes in those countries, planes have been relocated in large numbers to Afghanistan. It has been well-documented that this has led to a soaring number of US airstrikes in Afghanistan, with nearly 3,000 strikes in the first six months of this year, double that of the previous year.
With these strikes largely confined to areas where the US has little ground presence of intelligence on the area, the large increase in strikes led to an equally large increase in the number of civilians getting killed in airstrikes, with nine killed in Kapisa last week in the most recent example.
The UN issued a statement on Tuesday voicing concern about the increasing civilian deaths from airstrikes, reiterating that all parties have an obligation to protect civilians from harm. The US and Afghan governments both say they are “aware” of the statement.
In the first six months of 2018, the UN says 149 civilians were killed and 204 wounded. Women and children made up more than half of the casualties. The UN cautioned that the rate of casualties are still increasing into July and August.