‘Afghan civilian casualties see 330% rise under Trump’

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KABUL: During President Donald Trump’s administration engagement in Afghanistan, Afghan civilian casualty figures due to US air raids witnessed a 330 percent increase, revealed a study on Monday.


The report produced by the Brown University Watson Institute’s Costs of War Project indicated there had been a sharp increase in civilian deaths in US-led airstrikes from 2016 to 2019.


Being one of the premier authorities on civilian casualties in the 19-year-long Afghan war, the university said that from 2007 to 2016, US-led and Afghan government forces killed an average of 582 civilians each year.


Neta C. Crawford, the author of the report, states, “Some of this harm could be avoided by tighter rules of engagement, as well as better training. A negotiated ceasefire might also yield results at the bargaining table and at the same time avoid escalating harm to Afghan civilians from airstrikes.”


However, during Trump’s tenure, from 2017 to 2019, the US and Afghan government forces killed an average of 1,134 civilians each year, a nearly 95 percent increase.


The sharp increase in civilian deaths followed Trump’s decision made in consultation with his former Defense Secretary James Mattis and other military and civilian officials.


“From 2017 through 2019, civilian deaths due to US and allied forces’ airstrikes in Afghanistan dramatically increased,” the report states.


Meanwhile, the Costs of War Project report indicates that more than 43,000 Afghan civilians have been killed during the 19-year US-led war.


On the other hand, according to the United Nations, US-led and Afghan government airstrikes killed more civilians than the Taliban rebellious attacks during the first half of 2019.