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January: Casualties down sharply with reduced violence

January: Casualties down sharply with reduced violence

Feb 03, 2020 - 11:19

KABUL (Pajhwok): No suicide attack happened last month when 700 people suffered casualties, indicating a 36 percent decline over December and a 61 percent over January 2019.

According to Pajhwok Afghan News findings, 95 attacks happened in January, compared to 124 attacks in December and 131 in January in 2019.

Based on Pajhwok reports, 422 people were killed and 286 injured in January. compared to 695 people killed and 407 injured in December and 986 people killed and 839 injured in January 2019.

Attacks in January

Reports show 35 attacks were carried out by Afghan forces, 28 by militants, five by foreign forces and 26 by unidentified armed men as well as one rocket strike by Pakistani forces into Kunar province.

According to statistics, among every seven people, four suffered casualties in face-to-face fighting, one in airstrikes and the remaining in targeted attacks, explosions and aircraft crashes.

In January, most or 22 attacks happened in Faryab, seven each in Kandahar and Kunduz, six each in Helmand and Nangarhar, five each in Balh, Herat and Jawzjan, four each in Baghlan and Ghazni, three each in Kabul, Khost, Uruzgan and Zabul, two each in Farah and Takhar and one each in Kapisa, Kunar, Logar, Nimroz, Paktia, Samangan, Sar-i-Pul and Maidan Wardak provinces.

No suicide attack happened in January while there three suicide attacks took place in December and four in January of 2019.

This comes as on again and off again peace talks between the US and the Taliban continue since last one year in Qatar.

There are reports that both sides have been discussing a reduction of violence, but a final agreement is yet to be made.

Peace talks’ influence on war

Some experts believe that the ongoing peace talks have caused to reduce war in Afghanistan.

Zalmai Khalilzad, US envoy for Afghan peace, during a meeting with Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani on Saturday night said that there was no significant breakthrough in peace negotiations with the Taliban.

However, Gen. Abdul Wahab Wardak, a retired general, said that peace negotiations between the Taliban and the US had reached an important stage and reduction in civilian casualties last month was a result of the reduction in violence.

On the other hand, political expert Ghulam Jailani Zwak said one of the reasons for reduced attacks in January was winter when usually attacks fall.

But he said lower casualties last month was due to ongoing talks between the Taliban and US and reduction of violence during negotiations.

“We did not see major attacks in major cities in recent days, minor attacks happen but no attacks that cause huge casualties did not occur, so it means that warring sides including Taliban, US forces and Afghan forces have reduced violence,” he said.


Pajhwok reports show 422 people were killed and 286 others injured in attacks last month. The victims included rebels, security forces and civilians. But Pajhwok could not compile specific casualty figures because different sources provided different versions.

There were no reports of attacks on January 10 and 24, but most of casualties happened on January 1 when seven attacks were carried out in Takhar, Kunduz, Balkh and Faryab provinces. In these attacks, 54 people were killed and 34 others wounded.

In four days of January 2019, 654 people had suffered casualties and January 14 was the deadliest day when 263 people ad suffered fatalities.

Ten most violent provinces

Analysts link the rise and fall in casualties to nature of attacks. Military experts believe more casualties happen in populated places.

Nineteen-year war

Afghan forces, supported by foreign troops, have been fighting the Taliban and other insurgent groups for the past 19 years.

Pajhwok collects war casualties based on reports since the last three years.

Annual reports of Pajhwok Afghan News show nearly 25,000 people were killed or wounded in 2017, 27,000 people in 2018 and a little over 22,000 people in 2019.

The figures show that 1,700 people suffered casualties in every January month of these years on average, but the fatalities reduced by 59 percent last January.

Casualties last January reduced by 61 percent compared to the same period in 2019.

Gen. Abdul Wahab Wardak said less attacks caused less casualties. “We did not see a major attack last month, we hope there would be on attacks and casualties next month.”

“May the merciful God send us peace”

Bibi Gul, 45, a resident of Naal Dasht area of Pushrod district of Farah province, whose brother was killed by Taliban in recent past, said, “Both the Taliban and Afghan soldiers who lose their lives are our children, we hope both sides would agree to peace.”

She said orphaned children of his brother were currently living in bad condition and could hardly find food. She said children of slain soldiers would be also in similar condition.

She asked warring sides to agree on peace and stop other children from becoming orphaned like her brother’s. “May the merciful God send us peace,” she said.

Editor: Ab Qadir Munsef

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