Politics

UN Finds U.S.-Backed Forces Killed More Civilians Than Taliban Have in Afghanistan

A United Nations study has found that through the first quarter of the year, American-backed, pro-government forces have killed more civilians than the Taliban. Government-backed forces have killed 305 civilians from the start of the year through March. Meanwhile, the Taliban and other anti-government groups have killed 227 civilians.

The war in Afghanistan has dragged on for roughly 18 years. Despite a huge commitment from the United States, now spanning three Presidential administrations, the Taliban remains a potent and growing threat. While the American military was able to quickly oust the Taliban from the capitol Kabul, the group has managed to regroup in Afghanistan’s hinterlands.

A U.S. government report released earlier this year found that the Afghanistan government continues to lose ground. The government now controls territory in which 63.5 percent of the population lives. The Taliban controls territory where 10.8 percent of the population resides.

Measured at the district level, however, the government controls just 53.8 percent of districts. Insurgents control 12.3 percent of districts with the remaining 33.9 percent being contested. However, momentum suggests the Afghanistan government could lose even more districts in the months ahead. During the final quarter of 2018, the government lost control of an additional seven districts.

The United States has been negotiating directly with the Taliban, hoping to bring an end to the war. President Donald Trump has made it clear that he’d prefer to scale back America’s military involvement in regional conflicts across the globe.

Under a tentative agreement, the Taliban will pledge that Afghani soil will not be used to host international terrorist organizations. In exchange, the American military will agree to withdraw its forces. It’s unclear how the United States will enforce the agreement and specifically the anti-terrorism clause after the military pulls out.

The opinions expressed here by contributors are their own and are not the view of OpsLens which seeks to provide a platform for experience-driven commentary on today's trending headlines in the U.S. and around the world. Have a different opinion or something more to add on this topic? Contact us for guidelines on submitting your own experience-driven commentary.
Brian Brinker

Brian Brinker is a political consultant and has an M.A in Global Affairs from American University.

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