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Humanitarian Issues In Afghanistan And Iraq

1149 words - 5 pages

The Middle East has long been a place for turmoil and warfare. In the past, the region was carved up by European powers following the First World War. More recently, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the ensuing power struggle and the United States’ operations in Iraq and Afghanistan have caused untold suffering for civilians. In Iraq and Afghanistan in particular, there are many regions where civilians suffer terrible conditions, and there is much human suffering.
Civilian casualties are becoming more common in Iraq and Afghanistan. Statistics show that there has been a steady increase in civilian casualties every year since America’s invasion: in Afghanistan, casualties are up 31% from one year ago to about 3,300 in the first six months (Afghanistan: Humanitarian). Conditions are similar in Iraq, where in 2010, “violence killed and injured hundreds of civilians each month” (World Report). These numbers continue to grow despite the UN forces’ efforts to reduce the amount of civilian casualties. It is especially terrible since not all casualties are directly war related; in some cases insurgents targeted civilian gathering points such as hotels and markets, killing and injuring civilians for no apparent military purpose. Fighting between UN forces and various insurgent groups is the main cause of the continuous bloodshed; however, political motivations also attribute to the rise in deaths. America’s intervention in Iraqi government has created instability and violence which contributes to the poor conditions for the country’s people. For example, on Election Day in Iraq millions “braved mortar shells and rockets to vote” (World Report). Another explanation for the rise in civilian deaths may be that insurgents want to portray deaths as the fault of the UN forces. One disheartening fact is that “Afghan women and children are increasingly bearing the brunt of this conflict” (“Why is it Getting Worse?”).
Another result of the war in the Middle East has been the lack of basic supplies and services for many citizens. Many refugees live in “makeshift dwellings” (“Afghanistan: Bleak Living”) and whole regions have been turned into slums. Many living in the slums are in need of food, clean water and warm clothing. In 2006, it was reported that “millions of Iraqis had little or no access to clean water, sanitation and healthcare” (BBC News). The BBC also reports that some families spend up to a third of their monthly wage of $150 USD just on clean drinking water. Not only is it shocking that the average monthly wage in Iraq is similar to the allowance of some American teens, it’s terrible that families need to pay such ridiculous amounts of money for a basic necessity that many people take for granted. Aside from food and water, it is also difficult for civilians to access other basic services like medical care and education. A UN spokesman commented on this matter saying “‘access to basic services, such as health and education’” was...

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