A Target Missed

The latest HSFK-Standpunkt analyzes the impact of NATO’s military presence in Afghanistan on civilians and NATO's joint responsibility for civilian casualties over recent years.

2014 marks the end of the NATO-led ISAF mission in Afghanistan. ISAF will be replaced by the new NATO-led mission Resolute Support, which focuses on supporting the Afghan National Security Forces. In the current debate over the future role of international military forces and civilian agencies in Afghanistan, it is important to consider the problems of the international military presence in Afghanistan since late 2001.

The number of civilian casualties directly caused by international military forces in Afghanistan decreased over recent years. However, counterinsurgency practices, led by the United States, changed the way anti-government forces operated, with negative repercussions for civilians. International practices thus had negative second-order effects that led to an overall increase in civilian casualties over recent years.

In HSFK-Standpunkt 6/2014 "Ziel verfehlt. Die Mitverantwortung der NATO für zivile Opfer in Afghanistan", Arvid Bell and Cornelius Friesendorf shed light on these effects and argue that NATO shares responsibility for the escalation of violence in the Afghanistan war.

The HSFK-Standpunkt is available as a free PDF download (German only).