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At Milestone, US Military Deaths Dwarfed by Afghan Dead

As 2,000th American soldier killed in Afghanistan makes headlines, estimates put Afghan civilian dead at over 20,000

Common Dreams staff

The latest green-on-blue shooting in Afghanistan, a firefight which left at least five people dead including two Americans, has put the total number of US soldiers killed in the war at 2,000.

The tragic milestone highlights the ongoing dangerous conditions for US and NATO soldiers in the war-torn country, but also serves as a reminder that though accurate and timely reports follow each death of a western soldier killed in Afghanistan, the death of ordinary civilians caught in the middle of a war that has dragged on for nearly eleven years are hardly mentioned at all.

Part of this story is that for most of the war statistics of Afghan civilians killed were not kept at all. From the end of August, 2012 to when the United Nations began keeping track in 2007 (six years after the US/NATO invasion), the UN estimates that 13,431 Afghan civilians had been killed. 

Looking at the entirety of the war, most (conservative) estimates put the number of civilian Afghan dead at over 20,000.

To put it plainly: for every US soldier killed in a war that fewer and fewer seem willing to defend or explain, ten innocent Afghan civilians—doing their best to go about their under constant violent threat—are killed in war that eleven years later shows no sign of ending.

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