Friday, April 22, 2016

Guardian Reports on the Increasing Use of Drone Attacks by USAF in Afghanistan

US drone strikes outnumber warplane attacks for first time in Afghanistan  
"Drones are firing more weapons than conventional warplanes for the first time in Afghanistan and the ratio is rising, previously unreported US Air Force data for 2015 show, underlining how reliant the military has become on unmanned aircraft.

...In 2015, drones released about 530 bombs and missiles in Afghanistan, half the number in 2014 when weapons dropped by unmanned aircraft peaked." 

Saturday, April 02, 2016

Updated Data for British Casualties in Afghanistan

Data from the MOD on British casualties up to the end of 2014 has now been added and a new summary table included.

Updated Graphs for Afghan Civilian Casualties

The graphs and data for Afghan civilian casualties have now been updated to include the latest UNAMA report, which covers the period to the end of 2015. The graphs shows a continued upward trend in conflict related civilian casualties.

As noted by ICRC last month, humanitarian concerns continue to grow as international concern dwindles.

Friday, April 01, 2016

The News Feed!

The previous gadget being used for generating the Casualty Monitor news feed had been discontinued by Google. So, this has now been replaced and hopefully things will now be back to normal. Thanks for your patience.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Updated Links and News Feed Fix

We are pleased to add links to three additional organisations working on different aspects of casualty reporting. These are Airwars, Remote Control, and Every Casualty. The problem with the news feed 'going native' and churning out irrelevant, tech industry related news has also, hopefully, been fixed.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Civilian Casualty Data for Afghanistan in 2011

The figures from the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) have been added to the civilian casualty monitoring page. They show a continued upward trend with 3,021 fatalities and 4,507 injuries documented during 2011. The reporting of estimates for civilian injuries is a welcome addition to the previously reported fatality estimates. These figures bring the total civilian casualty estimate for the war since 2007 to 24,295. 

The figures very likely only represent the tip of the total numbers since the start of the war in 2001, and, of course, take no account of the Afghans killed and injured while fighting the occupation.

British Casualties in Afghanistan: Data updated for 2011

An updated analysis of casualty data for British forces in Afghanistan has been posted, covering the period until the end of 2011. Total UK casualties for 2011 were 2,183, including 46 fatalities and 1,147 aero-medical evacuations. The peaks seen in 2009/10 did not occur during 2011, and overall casualty levels have returned to a similar level as seen in 2008. The monthly trend shows a downwards slope from September 2010, when US forces took over combat in Sangin District, through to the end of the year.

With recent events in Afghanistan the prospects for 2012 remain uncertain. We plan to provide a more reliable update service in 2012 to follow these developments and thank you for your patience.

Monday, May 09, 2011

British Casualties in Afghanistan: Updated data posted for 1st quarter of 2011

An updated analysis of casualty data for British forces in Afghanistan has now been posted. Total UK casualties for the first quarter of 2011 stand at 525, including 15 fatalities, and are at similar levels to those seen during Jan-March in 2009/10. Over the last 3 years the lowest casualties have been reported during April, rising afterwards to peak during July and August in the summer fighting season. However, media reports of Taliban attacks in Kandahar during the last few days, following on from a successful escape attempt in which nearly 500 prisoners broke out of Sarpoza prison, suggest that intensification of the insurgency may be happening earlier in 2011 [BBC, Guardian].

Friday, April 08, 2011

The Difficulties of Counting the Dead in Libya

As stalemate, uncertainty, and mounting casualties continue in the war in Libya a brief but useful overview of the difficulties in estimating the death toll can be found in 'When Numbers Lie'.

In a previous post we commented on the the bleak prospects for Western forces providing better reporting on casualties caused by their combat activities in Libya. However, with that in mind it is also worth pointing to two archived articles from the British Army Review. The first, from 2009, looks at the use of Civilian Battle Damage Assessment Ratios to monitor military activities with the aim of reducing civilian casualties [BAR, 147]. The second, from 2010, calls for recording "all the dead: not just our own"; recognising the strategic advantages of such an approach [BAR 149].

The UK and other militaries are clearly thinking about the advantages of more open disclosure and better data recording. In conjunction with NGOs and academics important steps are being taken in that direction [Oxford Research Group]. Will this result in actual improvements in casualty reporting and, more importantly, real time adjustment of tactics to minimise casualties? The war in Libya is perhaps the testing ground for this new awareness. As it continues and evolves events may reveal to what extent the thinking revealed by the articles in the British Army Review has actually been main streamed.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Evidence and Advocacy on Civilian Casualties in Afghanistan: The view from UNAMA

An article on UN efforts to monitor civilian casualties during the ongoing war in Afghanistan has been published in Humanitarian Exchange [ODI-HPN]. The article is by Norah Niland, who was on sabbatical after completing a term as the director of human rights in the UN Assistance Mission to Afghanistan [UNAMA]. The piece explores efforts to:
"...mobilise attention in decision-making circles to the costs of war on Afghan civilians. It focuses on the role that systematic monitoring and investigation by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) Human Rights (HR) team, coupled with routine public UN reporting, has played in supporting advocacy aimed at enhancing protection for people whose lives are at imminent risk."
Unfortunately, the article is rather short on detail about the methods employed and doesn't really discuss how reliable the data can be, given the circumstances they are operating within. However, it is an interesting read and outlines, for example, how evidence was used to disprove ISAF accounts of  an air strike in Shindand, in 2008. This event subsequently led ISAF to establish a new Civilian Casualty Tracking Cell.

The article also discusses efforts from both sides of the conflict to take steps to reduce civilian casualties and to been seen to do so, and concludes on a positive note.
"A multitude of factors shape the scale and nature of warfare in Afghanistan. However, as the issue of civilian deaths has acquired strategic significance, belligerents, mindful of public perceptions, have taken efforts to protect civilian lives. Thus, while civilian deaths continue to increase, they have done so at a slower pace than the increase in conflict-related incidents."

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Civilian Casualties in Libya

As the war against the Libyan Government enters its fifth day the concern about civilian casualties continues to grow.  Perhaps even more than in Iraq and Afghanistan, the issue has substantive political importance as efforts to maintain a broad based backing for the US/UK/French action continue [New York Times, CIF]. While the great majority of casualties that have been inflicted in the war so far have been caused by Libyan Government and rebels forces, the impact of western forces may well grow as the war continues.

Following the invasion of Afghanistan, it took over nine years for the US military to admit that they do collect and hold data on civilian casualties. The British military has yet to be as forthcoming. Will the western coalition perform any better in this new conflict or will we be left again we no hard information with which the human costs and benefits of the western intervention can be assessed?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Database of Afghan Civilian Casualties Released by US/NATO Military

A database of civilian casualties has just been released by US/NATO forces in Afghanistan. Probably in a response to WikiLeaks revelations, the CIVCAS database is now being put into the public domain. The  Science periodical published an article yesterday that describes and provides a graphical visualisation of the data, which covers the period from Jan 2009 to end of 2010 [Science]. The database also includes data from 2008 but this was not included in the analysis. 

We will be taking a critical look at the data and including it in the civilian casualties tracking page in future updates.