BOSTON, USA - The number of Afghan civilians killed in airstrikes carried out by the US and its allies has soared by 330% since 2017, researchers have revealed.

The Costs of War Project, based at Brown University, says that in 2019 alone, around 700 civilians were killed.

The figure marks the highest number of deaths since the first years of the US invasion after the 9/11 attacks in 2001.

US President Donald Trump administration is set to announce the withdrawal of around 4,000 troops from Afghanistan as part of a wider plan to remove all US forces from the country by November next year.

The US currently has between 12,000 and 13,000 troops stationed in Afghanistan, says NBC, and the withdrawal appears to be part of the ongoing, troubled peace talks between Washington and the Taliban.

But news of Trump’s intention also comes just a week after government documents were uncovered which show that US officials and three different presidential administrations “systematically misled the public about the war”, NBC also reports.

As the US winds down its role in Afghanistan, CNN says that Washington is currently in a state of reflection “about what, exactly, has been accomplished by an 18-year experiment in nation-building there”.


What has the US acheived?


Since the beginning of the Afghanistan war in 2001, approximately 2,300 US troops and more than 58,000 Afghan soldiers and police have been killed.

A further 38,000 civilians and 42,000 anti-government insurgents have also been killed, says CNN.

US attempts at nation-building in Afghanistan, which has cost an estimated $2trn (£1.5trn), “has yielded little that can be declared as a clear victory”, says CNN.

The New York Times notes that for years, military and civilian leaders “said that the mission to rebuild Afghanistan was not only possible, but succeeding”, but documents revealed last week by The Washington Post show that “in private, the men and women who ran the war acknowledged to the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction what has long been clear to all but the most blinkered observers”.

“The dim prospects of achieving anything that could be called victory were evident almost immediately after the Taliban was toppled from power in 2002,” the paper adds.