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Beheadings, roadside bombs and airstrikes: one day in Afghanistan

October 07,2018 16:20

For everyone except the injured survivors and families of the dead, it was an unexceptional day in a conflict that much of the world appears to have forgotten. There were no such attacks in big cities, no key battles, just the ceaseless grind of war ...and more »



The first death happened soon after midnight, a policeman killed on night watch near the Tajik border. The bloodshed continued as the sun rose, and as night fell again.
Three beheadings at a school, and an airstrike after 11pm were the last of the conflict-related violence recorded in Afghanistan on 30 June. Taking place on the first day after a three-day ceasefire, these incidents were the culmination of a day of murder and maiming, shootings, explosions, aerial bombardments and one unclaimed political assassination.
For everyone except the injured survivors and families of the dead, it was an unexceptional day in a conflict that much of the world appears to have forgotten. There were no such attacks in big cities, no key battles, just the ceaseless grind of war.
Afghanistan mapOn 7 October, it will be 17 years since US troops launched Operation Enduring Freedom to topple the Taliban government in Kabul.
In the intervening years, foreign troop numbers have surged and been cut back again; leaders in the US and the UK have declared “our war” in Afghanistan over, and their “mission accomplished”.
Yet the Taliban have kept fighting and a regional affiliate of Isis has joined them on the battlefield. Today, insurgents control or threaten more territory than they have done since 2001, and civilian casualties are setting grim records.
In a bid to illustrate the relentless nature of violence, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and the Guardian and Observer have compiled a list of all attacks reported on a single day – using unpublished official documents and on-the-ground reporting to give a snapshot view of the war.
The 30 June is particularly poignant because it was the first day of fighting after an unprecedented and unexpectedly successful three-day ceasefire between government and Taliban forces ended.
Desperately weary of war, many Afghans were hopeful that the truce would be extended. Instead, this is what they got:

0 Total deaths 0 Total injured

This timeline details the death of at least 60 people, and the wounding of over a dozen more, in over 30 different attacks across 16 provinces – or nearly half the country.
Every outbreak of violence that we were able to identify – from a few shots fired at a police station in eastern Ghazni, to an airstrike on Taliban positions in western Farah – is listed.
By its nature, this day-long snapshot provides a partial picture of the violence. More than half the civilians killed by the war in the first half of the year are women and children, according to the UN, yet on 30 June they appear to have escaped direct harm.
Bloody assaults on urban residents as they study, work and relax have become perhaps the most high-profile face of the Afghan war, but there were no attacks in major cities that day.
Yet the cost of war must be counted in the lives of those who fight, as well as innocent civilians caught up in conflict. Both Taliban and government soldiers killed in action leave behind grieving relatives, and shattered communities mourning children lost on both sides of the conflict.
Beyond that, the list is likely incomplete, and the real toll may be higher. Some small incidents may have gone unreported; news is particularly restricted from Taliban-controlled or influenced areas. A claim that airstrikes killed scores of militants in southern Uruzgan was impossible to verify, but if true could push the number of deaths much higher.
Even so, it is an important catalogue of forgotten violence. Only one of the dozens of attacks on 30 June was reported internationally, and just a handful of others featured in the Afghan press.
Until today, most have gone unnoticed beyond the military units or local communities they affected. As on so many other days, the bloodshed continued, the war churned on, and the world looked away.

Afghanistan,Taliban,South and Central Asia,World news

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