Whether by force, by chance, or mistaken choice, there are sundry ways Afghans find themselves in harm's way. Some deaths make the news, but many more -- particularly in Taliban strongholds -- go to the ground unreported, known only to those closest to the victims, should they be survived.
Herewith, a sampling of coalition press releases on documented civilian casualties over the course of one month in the war:
One Afghan killed, one wounded in convoy incident
KABUL, Afghanistan (May 26) - One Afghan was killed and another wounded when their vehicle appeared to threaten a coalition convoy.
The coalition convoy warned the Afghans to slow down and move their vehicle away from the convoy by discharging a flare. The vehicle slowed and moved away, but then approached the convoy in a manner that again appeared threatening.
Personnel in the convoy discharged two more flares to warn the vehicle, and then fired one warning shot from a small arms rifle. After the vehicle continued to pose an apparent threat, the convoy fired two more shots, killing one Afghan and wounding another. The wounded Afghan is being treated in a local hospital.
The coalition regrets the incident and loss of Afghan life, and has ordered an investigation
Afghans killed during insurgent attack
KABUL, Afghanistan (May 20) - An incident resulting in a number of civilian casualties occurred yesterday in Nawa, south of Lashkar Gah, Helmand Province. The incident occurred when an International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) patrol was attacked by insurgents.
On the morning of 19 May, ISAF troops came under fire from approximately twenty-five insurgents. Finding it difficult to extract themselves from this dangerous situation, ISAF troops resorted to calling for close air support. An aircraft supported the soldiers by dropping one piece of ordnance, which ended the engagement.
The ISAF troops, however, were not aware that the insurgents were once again using civilians as human shields. If this information had been known by ISAF troops, no ordnance would have been used.
Tragically, it is believed that eight civilians were killed as a result of the air strike. This terrible incident again shows the insurgents' blatant disregard for the lives of Afghan people.
Afghan killed during vehicle incident
KABUL, Afghanistan (May 13) – An Afghan civilian was shot and killed in Wardak province yesterday as his car approached International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) troops who were engaged in a fire fight with insurgents.
During the incident, Afghan National Army and ISAF troops were responding to an attack by insurgents near the Jaghato District Centre when a taxi was observed speeding towards the scene.
In accordance with regulations, ISAF soldiers fired shots into the vehicle's engine block in an attempt to stop it. When the vehicle continued towards the soldiers, shots were fired at the driver. At the same time, the vehicle was also caught in the cross-fire between insurgents and security forces.
Following the incident the vehicle's driver and two passengers were given first immediate aid by ISAF personnel and then evacuated by helicopter to a Coalition medical facility. Tragically, the vehicle's adult driver died while enroute to the hospital.
Joint team Regrets the Loss of Civilian Lives Following Insurgent Attacks In Farah
KABUL, Afghanistan (May 9) - A joint Afghan National Security Forces and Coalition forces investigation team continues to examine events surrounding a complex series of Taliban attacks on innocent civilians, ANSF, and coalition forces in Farah province.
The joint investigation team confirms that a number of civilians were killed in the course of the fighting but is unable to determine with certainty which of those casualties were Taliban fighters and which were non-combatants because those killed are all buried.
Afghan Civilians and ISAF soldiers killed in southern Afghanistan
KABUL, Afghanistan (May 8) — At least 16 Afghan civilians and two International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) soldiers were killed, and more than 30 other civilians wounded, as a result of a Suicide Improvised Explosive Device (IED) attack yesterday in Helmand province, southern Afghanistan.
Two Afghans killed, two wounded as insurgents continue to fight amongst civilians
KABUL, Afghanistan (May 7) – An investigation has concluded that two Afghans were sadly killed, and two wounded, during an incident involving the Afghan National Army (ANA), International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) troops and insurgents on April 27 near Basharan, Helmand province, southern Afghanistan.
During an ANA-led operation, local security forces and ISAF troops came under sustained small arms and rocket propelled grenade (RPG) fire from insurgents positioned close to civilian compounds. To break contact with the insurgents during this dangerous incident, ANA and ISAF troops requested close air support. An aircraft supported the soldiers by dropping one bomb.
Tragically, two civilians were killed and two wounded as a result of the air strike. Three insurgents were also wounded during the incident.
ISAF confirms the death of Afghan civilian in Herat escalation of force incident
KABUL, Afghanistan (May 6) – As previously announced (2009-353), International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) received a report that an Afghan civilian had been killed in an escalation of force incident on 3 May in Herat province.
Although an investigation into this matter is still ongoing, ISAF can confirm that an Afghan child was killed when a vehicle failed to respond to numerous warnings to stop and was fired upon by ISAF forces.
Coalition contractors reportedly injure two Afghans
KABUL, Afghanistan (May 5) - Two Afghan civilians were reportedly injured as a result of an incident involving Coalition contractors.
The contractors were involved in a vehicle accident in Kabul at approximately 9 p.m. May 5. While stopped for the vehicle accident, the contractors were approached by a vehicle in a manner the contractors felt threatening. The contractors fired upon the vehicle, reportedly wounding two Afghans. Two Afghans were treated for injuries at a local hospital.
The incident is under investigation.
IED factory discovered, Afghans wounded in ANA, ISAF operation
KABUL, Afghanistan (April 30) – Afghan National Army (ANA) and International Security Assistance Force(ISAF) troops located a significant Improvised Explosive Device (IED) factory in southern Afghanistan today.
During the operation, in which a number of suspected insurgent compounds were cleared, two insurgents were killed and regrettably two Afghan civilians were wounded.
On approaching the compounds, ANA and ISAF soldiers were fired on by the insurgents. ANA and ISAF responded with small arms and air support.
The wounded civilians were given medical treatment on site and evacuated to an ISAF hospital for further care.
The ANA and ISAF do their utmost to avoid civilian casualties. During this incident, the insurgent tactic of fighting from civilian compounds led to the injury of local Afghans.