Civilian Causualties in Afghanistan
Dave Lannen, retired US Air Force colonel, a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, and a volunteer with Veterans For Peace in Traverse City, Michigan," reports on what it means when "hospital beds are full and patients should be diverted elsewhere" — Condition Black: Afghanistan’s Wounded Noncombatants. He writes:
- Even though the NATO hospitals will report CONDITION BLACK, they will always make room for NATO troops requiring care; there just is not another option. Not so for the civilian casualties; in CONDITION BLACK, NATO will either refuse to collect them from the battlefield, or deliver them to the poorly-staffed Afghan Army hospital near Kandahar – the only Afghan Army hospital in the entire southern region – and not capable of complex polytrauma surgery. The result is that NATO is triaging patients based on nationality vice medical need.
Although the Geneva Conventions require warring parties to protect civilians and provide medical care to the wounded, the US chose to escalate the war knowing that civilians would increasingly be killed and wounded – without a proper level of trauma care in place. While Afghanistan Rights Monitor attributes 60 percent of civilian casualties to the Taliban, they are not a signatory to the Geneva Conventions and have no medical facilities. Such is the condition of conducting a counterinsurgency – the burden lies with the nation states – NATO members.