The rising number of innocent Afghan casualties constitutes a major failure for the American forces if judged by the standards set out by General Stanley McChrystal in the summer of 2009, when he testified before Congress.
American success in Afghanistan should be measured by "the number of Afghans shielded from violence," not the number of enemy fighters killed, he said at the time.
According to the UN report, it is the Taliban that is killing more and more civilians. Civilian deaths at the hands of American-led forces actually declined dramatically last year. But as Wood wrote, "the perception among most Afghans is that the United States is responsible when Afghans are killed.
What McChrystal said was simply for US public consumption, and had nothing to do with the realities on the ground in Afghanistan.
1. The US and NATO will simply go on maiming, mutilating, and killing Afghans either until the nation is "pacified" enough for the pipelines to be installed to control Eurasian oil,
2. We leave, very much like the armies of the old Soviet Union did, ultimately negotiating with whatever government is left standing to lease the pipeline rights. There is no middle ground here.
And let's think about that statement in the UN report that "...it is the Taliban that is killing more and more civilians."
First, there appear to be zero statistics the UN brings to bear to back up that claim.
And secondly, if the Taliban is trying to build consensus among the Afghan people that they're the "good guys" in this conflict, would the logical extension of that consensus-building process be slaughtering their own!?