Civilian casualties and Taliban attacks in Afghanistan are mounting as the U.S. withdrawal nears completion and the Afghan military continues its collapse, according to a new quarterly report from a U.S. government watchdog that describes a country ravaged by Covid-19 and violence.
The report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, or SIGAR, found a “dramatic increase in enemy-initiated attacks” from January through March of this year compared to the same time in previous years. There were 10,431 attacks this year, up from 7,620 last year and 6,358 in 2019.
Attacks have been increasing since the U.S.-Taliban agreement on Feb. 29, 2020, with more attacks in each three-month period since the agreement than in the same quarters in the previous year.
The number of attacks against the Afghan military and civilians has increased significantly this year, the report says, with many attacks coming during the Taliban offensive now sweeping across the country.
The Taliban launched an offensive in May after U.S. and coalition military forces began withdrawing. The offensive accelerated in June and July.