High death toll in Afghanistan reconstruction efforts | News | DW | 11.02.2020
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High death toll in Afghanistan reconstruction efforts

A US government watchdog has revealed the human cost of international reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan. Thousands of civilians have been killed or injured in stabilization efforts.

More than 5,000 people — mostly Afghan civilians — have been killed or injured in reconstruction and stabilization efforts in Afghanistan, a US report released on Monday shows.

A report titled "The human cost of reconstruction" by the US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) — a US government watchdog created to monitor how funds are used in the country — showed that 5,135 people were killed or injured in a period lasting from 2002 to 2018.

"For years, SIGAR has spent considerable effort to track the financial costs of reconstruction and stabilization activities in Afghanistan,'' the authors wrote. "However, little effort has been made up to now to track the human costs — the number of people killed, wounded, or kidnapped — to accomplish these activities."

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Deaths, injuries, kidnapping

2,214 people were killed and 2,921 wounded, the report said. A further 1,182 individuals were kidnapped or went missing.

The deaths were the result of attacks on reconstruction projects led by the Taliban and other militant groups.

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Some 800 deaths occurred during security-related activities that included the training and mentoring of Afghan security forces. more than 4,000 deaths were related to governance and development activities like road and infrastructure construction. 257 individuals died in activities related to improving local governance, such as providing health and education services.

More than 70% of those killed and around 86% of those kidnapped were Afghan civilians.

International fatalities

On top, 284 US nationals, largely military personnel, and 100 coalition soldiers lost their lives in related activities. A further 124 third-country civilians —  who were neither American nor Afghan — also died performing reconstruction or stabilization missions, the report said.

The majority of casualties occurred between 2008 and 2011, when reconstruction efforts were at their height.

The US and the Taliban have reopened talks in a bid to end the war in Afghanistan, now in its 18th year. 

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kp/ng (AP, dpa)

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