Attrition: Human Shields in Afghanistan


June 29, 2007: So far this year, the Taliban have lost over two thousand troops. Three quarters were killed, the rest captured. Among the captives were 23 suicide bombers, caught before they could do the deed. For all of last year, the Taliban lost about 4,000 men, most of them killed. There have been about 80 major engagements so far this year, which usually end in lots of Taliban dying from the effects of a smart bomb or artillery.

The Taliban now more frequentlyseek out civilians, to take shelter among. The presence of civilians will offer some protection for the Taliban. But if it appears that the Taliban will still be able to get away (like after nightfall), a smart bomb will be used anyway. This results in civilian casualties, and the Taliban has used this to their advantage in their propaganda. Even the president of Afghanistan has had to respond to this, and has demanded that NATO forces be more careful. The problem is, the only alternative to smart bombs, is sending in troops to try and kill or capture the Taliban, without harming the civilians. There are two problems with this. First, more of the troops will be killed or wounded in this kind of close combat. Second, civilians will be put at risk anyway, this time from the effects of bullets and grenades. But this sort of thing does not make the news, for some reason or another.


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