Aid agencies concerned with troop surge
Western aid agencies are worried that more troops in Afghanistan will lead to more civilian casualties.
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A group of aid agencies in Afghanistan are worried not because of the Taliban and those seeking to disrupt the work of aid agencies on the ground. A recent report outlined their concerns over the expected troop surge from the United States and other Western countries in Afghanistan, and what that will mean for the local Afghan population.
This report comes as world leaders are gathered to celebrate NATO's 60th birthday party and President Obama is expected to ask NATO allies to contribute more troops to Afghanistan. But the western aid agencies are worried that more troops will lead to more civilian casualties, a big problem in the effort to win over the Afghan population.
To explain their concerns over President Obama's plan is Matt Waldman is head of policy at Oxfam International in Kabul, Afghanistan.
"What we have seen over the last few years in Afghanistan is a substantial increase in the number of internationalforces. But at the same time, we've seen an increase in the number of civilan casualties that are caused by those forces.
"In fact the number rose between 2007 and 2008 by 30%. The number killed by airstrikes rose by 70%. That is a source of great concern to us, as well as raids which often take place at night by international forces in the South and Southeast of the country which very often involve harm to civilians."
Waldman says that in addition to curbing civilian deaths, less aid to the region should be used by the military. He argues that it is not used as effectively in those hands.
"This is not only about security and military objectives, this is also about the Afghan people and providing a better life for them."
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