(Occasional sobering thoughts.) Old-new news: civilian casualties in Afghanistan spiked 31% between January and June, compared with the same 6 months in 2009. So said the human rights section of UNAMA, the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, in a midyear report released Tuesday.
Counted were 1,271 persons killed and another 1,997 injured, for a total of 3,268 civilian casualties in the 1st 6 months of this year.
Reason for the increase, according to the report?
"A rise in insurgent attacks"; to be specific, 2,477, or 76%, of casualties (53% more than in 2009) were attributed to "anti-government elements," compared with 386, or 12% (30% less than in 2009), to "pro-government forces."
Meanwhile, in Iraq,the U.S. military made ready for a September 1 renaming of its mission -- to Operation New Dawn. The move away from the longtime standard, Operation Iraqi Freedom, is supposed to reflect continued implementation of the troop-withdrawal plan. Yet speculation continues on whether the United States will, as agreed, move toward "no U.S. troops in Iraq at all by December 31, 2011."
With these developments in mind, here's our count since our last such post 7 weeks ago:
► The U.S. Department of Defense reports that coalition military casualties in Afghanistan stand at 1,226 Americans, 331 Britons, and 434 other coalition servicemembers. That's an increase of 85, 23, and 9 casualties, respectively, in the last 7 weeks. The total coalition casualty count in the Afghanistan conflict is 2,002 service women and men.
► Respecting the conflict in Iraq, Iraq Body Count reports that between 97,196 and 106,971 Iraqi women, children, and men have died in the conflict in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003, representing an increase of between 383 and 508 deaths in the last 7 weeks.According to the U.S. Defense Department, 4,414 American servicemembers have been killed in Iraq, representing 6 servicemember deaths in the last 7 weeks. (As posted, U.S. troops are the only foreign forces remaining in Iraq.)