UN: Record Number of Afghan Civilians Killed in 2018

Suicide bombings, US airstrikes both driving record increase

According to UN officials, the 2018 civilian death toll in Afghanistan was a record high, with 3,804 killed and another 7,189 wounded. This was an approximately 11% increase over the previous year, and the highest annual figure since the UN began keeping track in 2009.

The report concluded that both an increase in suicide attacks, mainly from ISIS, and a sharp increase in US airstrikes were driving the record deaths, with over 1,000 casualties just from US air operations.

The Taliban were blamed for the largest number of civilian casualties, at 37%, which is in keeping with UN reports of the past. The Afghan government, US, and NATO were blamed for 24%, and ISIS was blamed for a further 20%. This is a huge number of ISIS killings given how comparatively small the group is.

The UN said a particularly concerning fact was that the civilian casualties from US airstrikes were overwhelmingly women and children. This, however, should be unsurprising, as the US tends to define adult men in Afghanistan as “suspects” or “militants” simply by virtue of being in a strike.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.