Marc Herold’s study of civilian casualties in Afghanistan has gotten a lot of attention, but since he posted it, a couple of alternate counts have emerged. Herold seemed to take an approach which produced the highest plausible count. The Project on Defense Alternatives came up with an estimate ranging from 1100 to 1300 casualties. The latest calculation was compiled by AP reporter Laura King, whose report estimates that the number may be somewhere in the mid-hundreds. There are at least three other efforts to tally the number of casualties as well. All I can say is that I hope the AP number is correct.
A reader sent along another assessment of civilian casualties in Afghanistan, this one from the Guardian. The story ends by saying that the war failed to set a new record for fewest civilians killed per bomb dropped, which is a shame, but isn’t necessarily indicative of anything. The nature of the targets selected has as much to do with that number as does the efficacy and accuracy of the bombing. It’s unfortunate but true that this war involved lots of bombing of urban areas, because that’s where the Taliban and al-Qaeda were staying.