Civilian victims in an asymmetrical conflict: Operation enduring freedom, Afghanistan

Aldo A. Benini, Lawrence H. Moulton

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Like other wars, recent Western military interventions have entailed loss of civilians in the affected countries. As a result of the 'Revolution in Military Affairs', Martin Shaw makes two claims likely to recur in debates on such wars. The first is that those losses were much smaller than the loss of life as a result of previous misrule and oppression. The second is that during these interventions civilians suffered only accidental 'small massacres'. Using victim figures from 600 local communities exposed to hostilities during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, the authors test Shaw's claims. They model community victim counts as a function of potential explanatory factors via zero-inflated Poisson regression. Several historic as well as concurrent factors are significant. Moreover, totals work out considerably higher than those offered by previous researchers. These findings are important to several aspects of the new way of war as a reminder that harm comes not only from direct violence but from indirect effects of munitions; underreporting of civilian losses as a likely systemic feature; and distributions of victims as mediated by histories of war of which Western interventions may be final culminations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)403-422
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Peace Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Safety Research
  • Political Science and International Relations


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