Afghan civilian casualties rose over winter: Pentagon
AVA- In its semi-annual report to Congress, the Pentagon found that between December 1 and May 31, the US-led NATO mission in Afghanistan counted more than 4,223 civilian casualties — about one-quarter of which were deaths and three-quarters were injuries. This represents about a 73 percent increase compared to the same time frame a year ago, the report notes, attributing the bulk of the rise to insurgents using more improvised explosive devices (IEDs). “Preventing civilian casualties remains a major concern of the ANDSF (Afghan National Defense and Security Forces), the Afghan government and US and coalition forces,” the report states. The document also found a 14-percent increase in the number of ANDSF personnel killed or wounded while on local patrols and during checkpoint operations, but saw a drop in casualties during planned offensive operations. US officials have previously claimed that casualty rates in the Afghan army and police have been dropping, but it is hard to verify or quantify such claims as Washington has agreed to classify data on the casualty numbers. The Pentagon said that during the winter, the ANDSF remained in control of all provincial capitals and repelled a Taliban attempt to seize the provincial capital of Farah in May. “The mild winter allowed for sustained military pressure against insurgent and terrorist forces, and built positive momentum heading into the 2018 fighting season,” the report states.