In July 2012, using data unwittingly supplied by Regional Command South West (RCSW), I forecast that public perception of the Afghan Government would fall below that of the Taliban. My report was deemed “off-message” and suppressed. General Gurganus, the US Marine Corps General who commanded RCSW insisted ‘We are winning and the Taliban are losing.’
Yesterday’s report from the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) sadly confirms my analysis. Not only have civilian casualties reached record levels, not only has the Afghan government largely abandoned the population it is mandated to protect but its own troops are responsible for 23% of those casualties.
“Every single casualty documented in this report, every woman, girl, or boy denied access to education or adequate healthcare and every man or woman deprived of their livelihood, represents a failure of commitment and should be a call to action for parties to the conflict to take meaningful, concrete steps to reduce civilian suffering and increase protection. Platitudes not backed by meaningful action ring hollow over time. History and the long memory of the Afghan people will judge leaders of all parties to this conflict not by their well-meaning words, but by their conduct.” Tadamichi Yamamoto, United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Afghanistan, Kabul July 2016