It is clear-cut that public support for the presence of international forces is impacted by the civilian casualties that continue to happen in the counter-insurgency operations and air strikes conducted by international forces in Afghanistan. This is because Afghan people do not want to continue to get killed either by allied forces or by the terrorists and insurgents. Afghan people have already suffered extremely, and need to have an end to the deteriorating situation. President Hamid Karzai has been very straightforward about the civilian deaths. But unfortunately sometimes he has used it as a strategy of diversion.
On Tuesday, May 31, 2011, the president told a news conference that history shows that Afghans know how to deal with occupiers after he warned that "If they (NATO) don't stop air strikes on Afghan homes, their presence in Afghanistan will be considered as an occupying force and against the will of the Afghan people." The Taliban have been able to penetrate areas where there is no Afghan government penetration and influence. The militants easily resort to using the residents in those areas as human shield in their offensive on and defense against Afghan and international security forces.
According to the UN reports, civilian deaths attributed to NATO troops declined 21 percent in 2010. On the contrary, the civilian casualties caused by the insurgency have seen about a 15 percent increase. It shows that president Karzai's repeated diatribe against civilian deaths by foreign forces has led to decrease in such incidents but in the meanwhile it has tied the hands of Afghan and ISAF forces in counter-insurgency activities and crusades, providing the terrorists with pretext to operate more freely and learn how to effectively make human shields out of the local residents and people. Over the last weeks, Afghan people have been witness to surge in deadly activities by terrorists.
They have been able to target some senior security officials such as Commander of 303rd Pamir police zone, Gen. Mohammad Daud Daud, provincial police chief, Brig. Gen. Shah Jehan Noori, who were killed early this week. So president Karzai should not adopt the outrage at civilian deaths as a strategy of diversion at the time when insurgents continue to seep into the north and west of the country. In fact, his emotional reaction has often contributed to the unchecked infiltration of the militants. Instead of stoking further anxiety, he has to respond to the growing public concerns about the uncontained surge in the terrorist activities.