Nation special report
WASHINGTON: In a sensitive report on war-related violence issued by the Brown University’s Costs of War Project on Thursday, it is disclosed that 65,000 people in Pakistan were killed in the last 17 years, including 23,000 civilians, 9,000 security personnel and 90 American contractors. The rest of the casualties were anti-government fighters. The report notes that since 2001, when the United States launched its war on terror, about 507,000 people have been killed in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq. The report also warns that there has been a 22 per cent increase in war deaths in the past two years.
As many as 370,000 of these people have died due to direct war violence, including armed forces on all sides of the conflicts, contractors, civilians, journalists, and humanitarian workers. Fatalities in Afghanistan, as of October 2018, stood at about 147,000 people, includingAfghan security forces, civilians and opposition fighters. A total of 6,334 American soldiers and contractors, as well as more than 1,100 allied troops, have also been killed in Afghanistan between 2001 and 2018. Between 268,000 and 295,000 deaths have occurred in Iraq, where the US-led military intervention began in 2003. The Ivy League US University, based in Rhode Island, notes that “compelling alternatives to war” were always available but “were scarcely considered in the aftermath of 9/11 or in the discussion about war against Iraq.” And “some ofthose alternatives are still available to the United States,” adds that report while underlining the costs ofignoring those options: “It is likely that many times more than 370,000 people have died indirectly in these wars, due to malnutrition, damaged infrastructure, and environmental degradation”. The report notesthat 200,000 civilians have been killed in direct violence by all parties to these conflicts, including more than 6,800 US soldiers. The report mentions that the US government never revealed how many US service members returning from these wars became injured or ill while deployed. Similarly, many deaths and injuries among US contractors have not been reported asrequired by law, but it is likely that at least 6,900 have been killed.Acontractoris a citizen engaged by a private firm to fight for the US government. The reportshowsthat the war also caused widespread displacements. Consequently, 10.1 million Afghan, Iraqi, and Pakistani people are living as war refugees and internally displaced persons, “in grossly inadequate conditions”. The report warnsthat the US military is conducting counter-terror activitiesin 76 countries, vastly expanding the counter-terror war across the globe. The wars have been accompanied by erosions in civil liberties and human rights in the US and abroad. The study argues that the human and economic costs of these wars will continue for decades with some costs, such as the financial costs of US veterans’ care, not peaking until mid-century. US government funding of reconstruction efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan hastotalled over $170 billion. Most of those funds have gone towards arming security forces in both countries. Much of the money allocated to humanitarian relief and rebuilding civilsociety has been lost to fraud, waste, and abuse. The cost of the Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Syria warstotals about $5.6 trillion.This does not include future interest costs on borrowing for the wars, which will add an estimated $8 trillion through 2054. The ripple effects on the US economy have also been significant, including job loss and interest rate increases. Both Iraq and Afghanistan continue to rank extremely low in globalstudies of politicalfreedom. Women in Iraq and Afghanistan are excluded from political power and experience high rates of unemployment and war widowhood. In the US, an average taxpayer owes $23,386 for wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. That’s equivalent to a year at a public university, a new Honda Accord car and the average down payment on a house. Afghan refugees According to the report, at the end of 2015, the UNHCR estimated there are approximately 1.2 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Afghanistan. Violence has been the major factor in involuntary population movements among Afghans. An additional 2.7 million Afghans are refugees abroad, primarily in Pakistan and Iran, where they face an uncertain politicalsituation, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW). Iranian officials, for example, deport thousands of undocumented Afghans without allowing them the opportunity to demonstrate a legal right to remain in Iran, or to lodge an asylum application. When Afghan refugees do repatriate, they return to a country that remains plagued by war, poverty, and lawlessness.According to a 2012 report by the Feinstein International Center, one in three Afghan children are malnourished, with rates far higher in conflict-affected regions. Access to health care remains very limited, with 15 percent of the population without accessto even basic healthcare services.In areas where fighting continues, militants lack respect for the neutrality of health care facilities, making visiting these facilities dangerous.