These days, the UN has traced the annual civilian casualties in Afghanistan: with 3,804 deaths and 7,189 wounded, the Afghan people have once again paid the highest tribute from the beginning of a civil conflict that bloodshed the country after the intervention Western, started in December of the now distant 2001.
An impressive body count
In total, it is estimated that the fallen civilians in the eighteen years of war were at least 32,000 and the wounded over 60,000. To which are added 3,458 fallen troops of the Western coalition (among which we remember the 53 Italians who died there in the fulfillment of their duty).
The number of total losses reported by the Afghan government forces is a secret, but recently Afghan president Ashraf Ghani spoke of over 45,000 fallen from 2014, that is to say in the last four years of conflict. A much higher evaluation than hitherto estimated, which makes realistic a number of at least 100 thousand fallen since the beginning of the Western intervention.
Thirty years of wars
Let us not forget that this year also marks the thirtieth anniversary of the Soviet Invasion (1979-1989), on whose grounds and motives we do not dwell here1: a conflict which had in turn produced 26 thousand fallen and over 57,000 wounded among the Soviet troops; 18,000 deaths among the pro-Soviet Afghans; Between 75,000 and 90,000 fallen among their opponents.
The balance of the victims among the civilians was also frightening in that case, oscillating between 600 thousand and 2 million of human beings: to them we add 5 million of refugees and 2 million displaced people, in addition to 3 million of wounded.
The size of this massacre thirty years is such as to oblige us to the basic question: what is the political, military, strategic sense of Western intervention? What democracy, peace, security has been handed over to the Afghan people?
It is not difficult to reread the thunderous affirmations of the US leaders who justified this military action by invoking the highest principles of democratic interventionism: of these are now staying the subdued announcements of further retreats, often contradicted or simply procinated.
The second American Vietnam
On this panorama of hypocrisy and ruins remains, beyond the bloodbath that the figures just said testify, a very serious precedent. That is to say the confirmation that Western technological overpower is not able to win conflicts against “poor” forces but firmly rooted in the territory and strongly motivated.
The United States of America has evidently not been the lesson of Vietnam: Afghanistan is now being added to it. We can’t know if and which will be the third one.
It is certain that the European States, if they were endowed with a minimum consistency, should come out of this bloodshed. But in Italy of these things you prefer not to talk at all.
- v. G. Colonna, Middle East without peace, Edilibri, Milan, 2009.