Civilian Casualties in Afghanistan

Number 26400
Subject War
Source The Nation/The Investigative Fund
State Afghanistan
Year 2013
Publication Date September 18, 2013
Summary This multi-part print and online investigation, including an extensive, interactive database of incidents involving the deaths of Afghan civilians at the hands of U.S and allied forces, provides the first comprehensive look into collateral damage in the war in Afghanistan over the years 2001 through 2013.* Approximately 30,000 words in all, the package of articles uncovers faulty and profoundly inadequate efforts to count the dead and to keep track of civilian casualties, the gaps and missteps involved in efforts by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and its office for protection of civilians to account for civilian casualties, serious flaws in the U.S. military’s (classified) database called the Civilian Casualty Tracking Cell (and parallel units), and the lack of any serious effort by the Pentagon to create an Office of Civilian Protection for “lessons learned.” The package examines the practice of lethal profiling of so-called “military age males” throughout the U.S. chain of command and exposes its pernicious effect on American rules of engagement in Afghanistan. It also reports on studies, including those performed by the U.S. military itself, on the measurable and quantifiable effect of civilian casualties in “creating insurgents.” In additional features published online, we report on the haphazard record-keeping and lack of a coherent policy when it comes to payment of reparations for civilians killed in Afghanistan. And we closely examine three mass-casualty incidents involving Afghan civilians, tracing how they resulted from changes in the Pentagon’s own commander directives and guidelines to the troops in the field. *The interactive database concludes at the end of 2012, the last year for which a full data set was available at the time of publication.
Category Contest Entry
Pages
Keywords Civilian casualties; United Nations; U.S. Military
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