Saturday Jan 08, 201106:24 PM GMT
'Afghan war getting uglier in 2011'
Fri Jan 7, 2011 8:14PM
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The Obama administration's strategy of "escalation" in Afghanistan has failed to curb the Taliban, says Antiwar News editor, adding that the outlook for 2011 is even bleaker than 2010, the bloodiest year of the war.

 

"Almost everyone agrees that 2011 is going to be even worse that 2010 which was the worst year yet," Jason Ditz said in an interview with Press TV's U.S. Desk on Friday.

 

He went on to dismiss the official claim of progress in Afghanistan, saying there is no evidence on the ground to support that assertion.

 

"Despite the recent claims of Progress there does not seem to be any reason to believe that there is going to be any sort of major improvement anytime in the near future."

 

U.S. "officials are content to just keep fighting exactly as they have been. Even their own force estimates show that the Taliban aren't getting any weaker." Ditz added.

 

"Their estimates at the beginning of the latest escalation was 25,000 Taliban, their estimate as of this week is still 25,000 Taliban so they are really not accomplishing anything."

 

Elsewhere in his remarks, the Antiwar editor, lamented that the civilian casualties will rise in Afghanistan. 

 

"We can predict ever worsening death tolls and very little material progress."  

 

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has recently approved yet another escalation of the war in Afghanistan, this time approving another 1,400 Marines who are expected to be sent to Afghanistan within a matter of weeks.

 

FACTS & FIGURES

The Afghanistan war was not authorized by the United Nations Security Council and many experts call it illegal under international law.

 

The U.S. Department of Defense employs over 112,000 "contractors" in Afghanistan including around 26,000 armed contractors who are in fact mercenaries. Thus, U.S.-employed contractors outnumber U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

 

The U.S. currently has around 100,000 troops in Afghanistan.

 

Since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan, more than 34,000 Afghan civilians have been killed in the country as a result of the war.

 

By the end of 2010, the war had resulted in 2,281 coalition casualties, including 1,445 American deaths. U.S. fatalities in 2010 (711) accounted for nearly half of all U.S. deaths since the war began over nine years ago, according to iCasualties.

 

UNAMA reports that 2010 was the bloodiest year since the war began in terms of the civilian death toll.

 

In July 2010, the whistle blower website Wikileaks released over 75,000 classified reports covering the Afghanistan War. The secret documents reveal 144 incidents in which coalition soldiers killed or wounded civilians.

 

HJ/SM/HSH

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