Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Afghanistan: Taliban Body Count a Poor Measure of Success

For US Review, Security and Justice Are Best Tests of Progress, Not Kill/Capture Rates

Human Rights Watch, December 15, 2010

2010_Afghanistan_Wounded.jpg
Soldiers bring an Afghan civilian wounded in a crossfire to a Medevac helicopter near a camp in Helmand Province on November 2, 2010.
© 2010 Reuters
 
There is a danger that under pressure for ‘results’ the US will revert to Taliban body counts as a benchmark of success. President Obama should make clear that battlefield gains will be short-lived without a military and political strategy that protects rights.
Rachel Reid, Afghanistan researcher at Human Rights Watch
(New York) – The Obama administration should not backtrack on its commitment to make the protection of Afghan civilians a priority as it releases its assessment of the military situation in Afghanistan, Human Rights Watch said today. Strengthening civilian protection requires continued efforts to reduce civilian harm in military operations, improve due process for detainees, and sever US ties with abusive armed groups, Human Rights Watch said.

“There is a danger that under pressure for ‘results’ the US will revert to Taliban body counts as a benchmark of success,” said Rachel Reid, Afghanistan researcher at Human Rights Watch. “President Obama should make clear that battlefield gains will be short-lived without a military and political strategy that protects rights.”

On December 16, 2010, the US government will release an assessment of the impact of an increase of 30,000 troops in Afghanistan over the past year to its current strength of approximately 100,000 troops.

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