2014: A Deadly Year For Afghanistan’s Civilians
According to a report released by the United Nations on Wednesday, 2014 was the deadliest year for Afghan civilians since record keeping began in 2009 with 10,548 civilian casualties last year. That represents a 22 percent increase from 2013 numbers.
According to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), the Taliban were responsible for 72 percent of the casualties, while ground battles caused more casualties (34 percent) than suicide bombings or improvised explosive devices (22 percent). The number of casualties caused by international military forces decreased by 43 percent.
Injured children sent to Germany
On Tuesday the Afghan Red Crescent Society (ARCS) said it was flying 79 Afghan children for treatment to Germany under a 1989 agreement between the Peace Village International and the ARCS. More than 4,000 children have been relocated to Germany so far, according to Pahjok Afghan News.
US Needs To Expand Its Alliance In Fight Against Extremism
Susan Hayward of the Institute for Peace writes in Foreign Policy that moving forward the United States needs to take a wider view of with whom it works in combatting religious extremism.
“As the U.S. government pursues religious engagement in its effort to prevent and counter violent extremism, it must avoid policies that have yielded limited impacts, had unintended negative consequences, or even backfired. Moving forward, U.S. policymakers and those who implement programs on the ground would do well to bear in mind three particular lessons: They need to expand their focus beyond Islam, men, and counter-messaging,” she advises.
For instance, she suggests that while Islamic extremism is the most widespread, other religions should not be ignored, nor should the US close its eyes to the role women play as religious leaders.
Boko Haram Threatens To Disrupt Nigerian Elections
Taking a page from ISIS, today Boko Haram has incorporated social media into its strategy, releasing a video from its new Twitter account vowing to disrupt Nigeria’s elections at all cost.
Nigerian President Jonathan Goodluck has pledged that there will be no further delay beyond March 28, the new date set for the election, and that the postponement will give the military time to “clean up” three northeastern states where Boko Haram has displaced an estimated 1 million people and killed thousands.
Boko Haram has increased its attacks inside neighboring Chad, Cameroon and Niger.
Related: Tim Mak of The Daily Beast examines how ISIS and Boko Haram have increased their collaboration, a pointed noted by National Counterterrorism Center Director Nicholas Rasmussen during a recent a hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Rasmussen’s prepared remarks can be read HERE.