Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

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Counting the Dead in Afghanistan

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Science, 11 March 2011
A detailed discussion of trends in civilian casualties, using data from Unama, the Afghan NGO ARM (called here ‘the highest-resolution data of all, describing individual incidents’), WikiLeaks and – for a first time – the full CIVCAS (civilian casualty) data collected by ISAF. Discrepancies between the data are explained: ISAF only counts ‘what it sees’ and has no presence in all provinces. ISAF ‘does not question the accuracy of UNAMA’s body count’. Amongst the main conclusions are: ‘By all accounts, the war has grown deadlier for Afghan civilians. […] But at the same time, there are signs that ISAF has become a safer fighting force, treading more lightly on local populations’ and ‘over 90% of last year’s spike in CIVCAS, and the entirety of that in the UN data, is attributed to insurgents’.