President Donald Trump, who promised to reverse the failed foreign policy of his predecessors on the campaign trail, did a complete about face on Afghanistan after taking his place in the Oval Office. Similar to Obama, Trump committed to a troop surge in Afghanistan soon after becoming President, and the results have been deadly.
“During the first nine months of 2017, the mission documented 466 civilian casualties (205 deaths and 261 injured), a 52 percent increase in civilian casualties from air strikes compared to the same period in 2016,” the U.N. mission in Afghanistan said in its report.
According to their estimates, the Pentagon expended 751 aerial munitions upon targets believed to be apart of the Taliban, Islamic State and Khorasan Group in Sept. 2017. This represents a shocking increase of 50 percent over August totals, demonstrating how rapidly this conflict is escalating.
“We are aware of allegations regarding the potential for civilian casualties as the result of combined operations in northern Afghanistan,” said Capt. Tom Gresback, a spokesperson for the military, to War Is Boring.
This murderous potential was realized during a recent attack affecting at least three villages in the Chardara district of the Kunduz province. Believing they were hitting the Taliban insurgency, American forces dropped munitions upon the target. Unfortunately, the Taliban was not there, and media reports indicate that as many as 13 civilians were killed by the attacks. Afghanistan is already the longest war in American history, and shows no signs of slowing down.
“This comes amid reports that the US strikes in Iraq and Syria are on the decline, which may allow more of America’s air power to be recommitted further east to Afghanistan, where insurgents still hold vast amounts of territory, and where the Afghan government is generally ambivalent about incidents in which civilians are slain,” foreign policy analyst Jason Ditz said at Antiwar.com.
While many Trump supporters hoped that he would bring the troops home, all he seems to be doing is shifting military forces from one doomed conflict to another. The military-industrial complex is sitting pretty as the war machine continues to expand in the age of Trump.