More than 150,000 people have died in Afghanistan and Pakistan since the 2001 United States-led invasion in Afghanistan, a new study claims.
U.S.-based Brown University’s “Cost of War” includes soldiers and civilians deaths, but the study stressed that most of the dead are civilians, accounting for more than 26,000 deaths in Afghanistan and more than 21,000 in Pakistan.
The study adds that the situation continues to worsen in both countries, with more intensity in Afghanistan, where reported deaths have been increasing in recent years.
The U.S. has also recently decided to slow its retreat from war-torn Afghanistan, something the study claims will aggravate the situation and increase the casualties as militant groups like Taliban, which ruled Afghanistan prior to the U.S. invasion, are pushing for a takeover from the pro-U.S. government.
The U.S. announcement it is slowing its troop withdrawal, “underscores the fact that the war in Afghanistan is not ending. It is getting worse,” said the study.
The study also said that another 162,000 people have been wounded since the U.S. invasion that toppled the extreme Sunni group Taliban, which aided and sheltered al-Qaida and its leader, Osama bin laden for years.
In order to collect the data for all categories of direct casualties including soldiers, civilians, journalists and aid workers and other civilians, the study used sources ranging from the U.S. government to the United Nations aid mission in Afghanistan to data bases of nongovernmental organizations and think tanks.
However, the author of the report Neta Crawford said studies on wars since the 1990s suggest an “extremely crude rule of thumb” that for every person who dies a direct death in war, three to 15 die indirectly.
She also said that the conflicts in Afghanistan and Pakistan were closely connected as the anti-Taliban invasion had intensified the situation in neighboring Pakistan, which has its own factions of Taliban and al-Qaida.
"It is important for policy makers and others to view the effects and implications of these wars together, because they are so interconnected," said Crawford.
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