Military officials say that civilian casualties in Marjah, Afghanistan are “inevitable” as U.S. and allied forces launch Operation Moshtarak, the largest military action since the U.S-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.
Thanks in part to conflicting messages from ISAF and in part due to some residents’ inability to flee, many civilians remain in Marjah, in the crossfire.
Statements from Brig. Gen. Nicholson, commander of the operation, indicate that he feels he has leeway to use airstrikes in the civilian area, and that he intends to use fast, furious attacks to try to overwhelm the Taliban. The problem: airstrikes in support of troops in contact are the leading cause of U.S.-caused civilian deaths.
All of this is very, very bad news for civilians in Marjah. And it’s bad news for the troops in the fight as well.