In mid-year a report issued this month by the Afghanistan Rights Monitor, every day for the last six months, six civilians are killed and eight are wounded, for a total of 1,074 civilians killed and over 1,500 injured in armed violence from January 1st to June 30th. We all have six family members and eight friends. Is it easier to get our minds around the smaller figures? Since this war began (and these are conservative figures) there have been between : 13,372 - 32,969 direct and indirect deaths (indirect meaning you're not an "impact death," you die later) and 18,000 - 44,000 people injured. The population of Afghanistan is about 29,000,000, so that's a little more than one person in a thousand killed. In my city of Springfield, that would be about 150 people killed and 180 injured. What a crime wave!
Now NATO forces are only responsible for 40% of those casualties-- but I think we can say the war is responsible for all of them, as well as responsible for the nearly 2,000 Coalition deaths and 1,207 U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan since the war began.
I suppose Obama will feel he's got to muddle through at least until his planned withdrawal begins in July, 2011, or he'll sound like a quitter-- although, does this sound like withdrawal to you?
"We didn't say we'd be switching off the lights and closing the door behind us," he said at the White House, a day after naming Gen David Petraeus as his new Afghan commander.You can hear the words out of his own mouth at the BBC.
"We said we'd begin a transition phase that would allow the Afghan government to take more and more responsibility."