Terrorism & Insurgency

Levels of violence remain high in Afghanistan despite peace talks’ progress

21 July 2019

Key Points

  • The US military suffered its 10th fatality of the year to date in combat operations in Afghanistan on 13 July, leaving 2019 on course to eclipse the totals recorded during the preceding two years.
  • The fatality came amid a rising current of recent mass-casualty violence by the Taliban, which has resulted in a significant number of civilian casualties.
  • Such attacks have tempered any prospect of a reduction in high levels of violence as peace talks between the Taliban and the US and Afghan governments continue to progress.

A US Army soldier was killed during a combat operation in Afghanistan’s Faryab province on 13 July – the 10th US serviceman to be killed in action in the country to date in 2019, and the third to be killed in the past three weeks.

Although US losses in Afghanistan are significantly down from their peak in 2010, when 498 personnel were killed, the 10 fatalities recorded this year means 2019 is on track to be the deadliest in recent years, after 13 fatalities were recorded in 2018 and 11 in 2017. Paradoxically, this is likely attributable in part to ongoing peace talks between the US and the Taliban, with efforts by both sides to gain leverage in the negotiations resulting in an upsurge in fighting.

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