What perhaps explains the high civilian casualties in NATO’s war against the Taliban in Afghanistan, some 750 ‘minor’ fighters including drug dealers figure in a ‘Kill list’ of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).
The list, a part of documents obtained by whistleblower Edward Snowden and published by German magazine, Der Spigel refers to the ISAF activities in Afghanistan during 2009-11. The ISAF is NATO’s US-led coalition operating in Afghanistan.The ISAF has been repeatedly accused by the Afghanistan government of causing collateral damage among civilians while the ISAF has maintained that it was only targeting Taliban militants. The new revelations indicate that among the targeted individuals, many may not have been the Taliban’s top or mid-level leadership but non-combatants accused of providing help to the Taliban.
The Der Spiegel report speaks of an attempted attack on a Taliban member named Mullah Niaz Mohammed, nicknamed “Doody”, who was number 3,673 on the NATO Kill List in 2011. Instead of killing the target, the bombing resulted in the death of a nearby child, while critically injuring the child’s father.
The US-led coalition formally ended its 13-year military campaign in Afghanistan in mid-December. However, the longstanding military confrontation with the Taliban has not led to a victory over steadily-expanding Islamic extremism in the region, according to a US State Department report released in April 2014.
According to UN estimates, the death toll among peaceful civilians is on the rise: this year it totaled over 3,100, while in 2007 it amounted to 1,523.
Experts estimate that by the end of 2014, the overall number of civilian deaths will reach 10,000.