Aug 31, 2017
As President Donald Trump continues to flout urgent calls for diplomacy and deepen American involvement in the 16-year war in Afghanistan, U.S. airstrikes on Wednesday reportedly killed at least 11 Afghan civilians and injured over a dozen more.
"United Nations figures showed a 43 percent spike in civilian casualties from both Afghan and U.S. airstrikes in the first half of the year."
This latest bombing campaign marks "the second deadly allied strike in three days to add to the country's mounting civilian death toll," the New York Timesreports.
"Three families were living in the house which was bombed; 11 people, including eight women, were killed," Hawas Khan Kochai, a local resident, told the Times in an interview.
In the first seven months of 2017, the U.S. has dropped over 1,200 bombs in Afghanistan, far exceeding the number dropped by this point last year.
With the soaring number of bombs dropped has come a staggering upsurge in civilian casualties, which have reached a record high.
"United Nations figures showed a 43 percent spike in civilian casualties from both Afghan and U.S. airstrikes in the first half of the year, with 95 killed and 137 wounded," Reutersnoted on Wednesday.
News of the latest civilian casualties come as U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis announced he had signed orders to deploy an unspecified number of troops to Afghanistan, a move Win Without War denounced as "doubling down on a strategy that has failed for 16 years."
In addition, the Pentagon on Wednesday "came clean" about the number of troops currently in Afghanistan: 11,000, a number significantly higher than previously believed.
"Any lasting peace in Afghanistan must be secured through diplomacy."
--Rep. Barbara LeeAs Common Dreamsreported last week, Trump's newly unveiled "strategy" for the Afghan war--which included more troops and less oversight--was widely denounced as yet another commitment to perpetual war.
Anti-war groups and lawmakers have responded by ramping up calls for diplomacy and debate. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) has continued to argue that "at minimum" Congress must "debate and vote on a new Authorization for the Use of Military Force."
"Any lasting peace in Afghanistan must be secured through diplomacy," Lee said last week.
Peace Action, meanwhile, is gearing up to launch a new anti-war campaign centered around the simple question: "What the hell are we still doing in Afghanistan?"
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