US Air Attacks on Afghan Drug Labs Killed 30 Civilians: UN
The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) conducted an investigation for four months into the air attacks on May 5 that hit more than 60 sites the United States and Afghan forces identified as drug-production facilities in the western provinces of Farah and Nimroz.
UNAMA and UN Human Rights Office said in a joint report released on Wednesday that there were at least 30 deaths among the 39 civilian casualties. The number included 14 children and five women killed or wounded in the air raids, which the UN said violated international humanitarian law as the victims were non-combatants.
“UNAMA has assessed that the personnel working inside the drug production facilities were not performing combat functions. They were therefore entitled to protection from attack, and could only have lost this protection if, and for such time, as they had been directly participating in hostilities,” the report said.
The US Forces-Afghanistan (USFOR-A) issued a statement, rejecting the UN report and claiming there were no casualties.
“USFOR-A is fighting in a complex environment against those who intentionally kill and hide behind civilians, as well as use dishonest claims of non-combatant casualties as propaganda weapons,” the statement said. “USFOR-A took extraordinary measures to avoid the deaths or injuries of non-combatants.”
Since late 2017, US forces have attacked sites believed to be used for processing drugs as part of efforts to cut off funds to the Taliban group.
Facilities that help fund parties who are involved in the 18-year war are considered civilian objectives under international humanitarian law, and thus drug labs and their workers are unlawful targets, the report concluded.
Afghanistan’s security forces and US-led NATO forces have been heavily criticised for inflicting civilian casualties during their raids and air attacks. At least 3,812 civilians have been killed or wounded in the first half of 2019, UNAMA said in a report published in July, noting a big increase in the number of casualties caused by government and NATO-led troops. It said 1,366 civilians were killed and another 2,446 wounded in the six months to June 30.
The report attributed 717 civilians killed and 680 wounded to pro-government forces, representing a 31 percent increase from the corresponding period in 2018.
Taliban and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) fighters killed 531 Afghans and wounded 1,437, said the UNAMA report.
The US formally ended its combat mission in Afghanistan in 2014 but still provides extensive air and other support to local forces battling both the armed groups.
Study: US ‘War on Terror’ Has Killed over Half-a-million People
Between 480,000-507,000 people were killed in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq in the wake of 9/11 attacks
(November 9, 2018) — Hundreds of thousands of people in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan have been killed due to the so-called “war on terror” launched by the United States in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attack, according to a new study.
The report, which was published on Saturday by the Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, put the death toll between 480,000 and 507,000. The toll includes civilians, armed fighters, local police and security forces, as well as US and allied troops.
The report states that between 182,272 and 204,575 civilians have been killed in Iraq; 38,480 in Afghanistan; and 23,372 in Pakistan. Nearly 7,000 US troops were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan in the same period. The paper, however, acknowledged that the number of people killed is an “undercount” due to limitations in reporting and “great uncertainty in any count of killing in war”.
“We may never know the total direct death toll in these wars,” wrote Nera Crawford, the author of the report titled “Human Cost of the Post-9/11 Wars: Lethality and the Need for Transparency”.
‘War Remains Intense’
People who were indirectly killed as a result of war, such as through disease or bad infrastructure, were also not included in the report. In a statement, Brown University said the new toll “is a more than 110,000 increase over the last count, issued just two years ago in August 2016”.
“Though the war on terror is often overlooked by the American public, press and lawmakers, the increased body count signals that, far from diminishing, this war remains intense.”
As an example, the US war in Afghanistan, which has been the country’s longest military invasion for 17 years, has lessened in intensity in recent years, but the number of civilians killed in 2018 has been one of the war’s highest.
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