Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Ten weeks in Afghanistan

By Michael J.W. Stickings

VetVoice has a stunning report on the scale of the lethal violence in Afghanistan:

Afghanistan is now deadlier than Iraq ever was.

When the Iraq War reached its deadliest peak during a 10-week period in April, May, and June of 2007, 308 coalition troops died. That was 1 out of every 575 troops on the ground at the time. It was a terrible period in which even the most die-hard Bush supporters began to question the sense in continuing the occupation. By contrast, 105 coalition troops have died in Afghanistan during the past 10 weeks. But because there are only 52,700 troops in Afghanistan, this represents 1 out of every 502 troops on the ground.

The war in Iraq -- at its most violent peak -- was never as dangerous for our troops as Afghanistan now is. In the past 10 weeks, three American soldiers have been captured, killed, and chopped up. Nine American soldiers were killed in a single instance when their outpost was overrun by Taliban militants. And today, the violence only intensified: 10 French soldiers were slaughtered in an ambush, with four of them being captured and subsequently executed. Around the same time, Afghan insurgents launched a coordinated attack on a major U.S. base.

The fatality rate in Afghanistan during the past 10 weeks would be equivalent to 353 deaths in Iraq at the same time -- a rate not even seen during the bloody crescendo of 2007.

And, I should note, Afghanistan has been a horribly bloody place for Canadian troops, too.

And all for what? For a war that the Iraq-obsessed U.S. initiated but has largely ignored, a war that removed the Taliban from power and secured Kabul but that has achieved little else, a war that may now be unwinnable, with the Taliban still strong, with the countryside run by warlords and druglords, and with al Qaeda militants secure in the Pakistani border region.

Afghanistan is much better off without the Taliban and al Qaeda in power, yes, but the recent violence is hardly a sign of improvement.

Labels: , , ,

Bookmark and Share


Post a Comment

<< Home