ISAF Violence Statistics and Analysis Media Brief
September 29, 2011
CLICK HERE FOR SLIDE PRESENTATION
Brig. Gen. Carsten Jacobson, ISAF Spokesman:
Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. I am glad you were able to attend this event today. I want to introduce you to our subject matter expert, Lieutenant Colonel Bret Van Poppel, ISAF Assessment Quality Officer. He and I will take questions at the end of this brief.
We want to publicly acknowledge the “United Nations Department of Safety and Security Report” that was released on Wednesday and then explain to you our statistics, our process along with the methodology. Today we will discuss how we gather, categorize and analyze certain data.
Overall, the data provided in the UN report is different in certain categories than the ISAF data. We have a high degree of confidence in our collection of data and its subsequent analysis and we will describe this process today.
Let me start out this afternoon by explaining our categories and giving a few definitions. Security Incidents are all enemy action (i.e. enemy-initiated direct fire and indirect fire i.e. mortar, rocket and artillery, Surface to Air Fire and Explosive Hazard events to include Executed Attacks (i.e. IED explosion, mine strike) and Potential or Attempted Attacks (i.e. IEDs, mine found & cleared, premature IED detonations, IED turn-ins) which are not included.
Security incidents do not include Friendly Action Incidents such as direct fire and indirect fire that are initiated by friendly forces. Enemy-Initiated Attacks are all enemy action (i.e. enemy-initiated direct fire, indirect fire, surface to air fire) and Explosive Hazard Events to include executed attacks only (i.e. IED Explosions and mine strikes). Potential or attempted Attacks (i.e. IEDs/Mine Found & Cleared, Premature IED Detonations, IED Turn-ins) are not included.
IED Events comprise Explosive Hazard events, both executed (i.e. IED explosion/Mine Strike) and potential IED/Mine Attacks (i.e. IEDs/Mine Found & Cleared, Premature IED Detonations, IED Turn-ins).
Complex Attack is an attack conducted by multiple hostile elements which employ at least two distinct classes of weapon systems (i.e. indirect fire and direct fire, IED and surface to air fire) against one or more targets. Complex attacks differ from coordinated attacks due to the lack of any indication of a long term planning process or prior preparation. Coordinated Attack is an attack that exhibits deliberate planning conducted by multiple hostile elements, against one or more targets from multiple locations. A coordinated attack may involve any number of weapon systems. Key difference between complex and coordinated is that a coordinated attack requires the indication of insurgent long term planning. High-profile Attacks are defined as Explosive Hazard event types, where only IED explosions were taken into account. We do not consider IED found & cleared or premature detonations. Only IEDs that actually exploded in an attack are taken into account. The primary method of attack for high profile attacks are Person-borne IED (PBIED), Suicide-borne IED (SVBIED) and Vehicle-borne IED (VBIED).
ISAF data collection includes reporting governed by formal orders and includes standard operating procedures. Over 200,000 human collectors report into the ISAF system. All initial reports within Afghanistan are submitted using state-of-the-art communications equipment. Intelligence reports, including human intelligence, signal intelligence, and other technological assets, are included in total ISAF data. ISAF collaborates with other local and regional sources for additional data. A standardized system of collation is employed throughout theater to ensure the initial military reports are: refined with subsequent reports and information; categorized consistently and accurately; and transmitted to an analytical database. The collation function provides an additional layer of quality assurance and control for consistency, to eliminate duplicate reports, to identify and reconcile database anomalies. Collation is centralized at IJC, but many collators are deployed to regional commands throughout Afghanistan. ISAF maintains all category definitions and draws data for the ISAF headquarters on a weekly basis. These data draws are confirmed with IJC before distribution.
The centralized provision of data at ISAF is an additional layer of quality control and assurance, and ensures that all members of ISAF headquarters have an accurate baseline data set, consistent with theater-standard definitions.
Now let us look at violence statistics through the end of the month August. For the period January through August 2011, enemy-initiated attacks are 2% lower than the same period in 2010. From June through August 2011, enemy-initiated attacks were 17% lower than the same period in 2010. In 2011, each of the months of May, June, July and August showed fewer enemy-initiated attacks than the same months in 2010. Prior to May 2011, enemy-initiated attacks had been higher than the same month the previous year since at least 2007. For the period January through August 2011, over 85% of civilian casualties were due to insurgent actions. Over 70% of insurgent-caused casualties are caused by IEDs. ISAF-caused civilian deaths increased from 152 by only 2% for the period from January through August 2011 when compared to the same period in 2010 despite an additional 10,000 to 25,000 Coalition forces in 2011 compared to 2010. Insurgent-caused civilian deaths increased from 807 by 1% for the same period of time.
Civilian deaths caused by air strikes increased by 18% from January through August 2011 compared to the same period of 2010 (from 57 to 67). For the months of June through August the numbers of civilian deaths caused by air strikes have decreased by 1 (from 12 to 11) in 2011 compared to 2010.
Violence in Kabul is less than 1% of nationwide violence, while Kabul holds nearly 20% of the population of Afghanistan. Regional Command Southwest has shown notable, sustained improvement in security. Enemy-initiated attacks reported from June through August 2011 were 39% lower compared to the same period last year. Regional Command South is showing emerging success and some improvement in security. Enemy-initiated attacks reported during the period June through August 2011 were 12% lower than the same period in 2010. Regional Command East continues to present a challenging security situation, and enemy-initiated attacks during the June through August time period were 17% higher than the same period in 2010. Some of this increase in violence is due to ANSF/ISAF clearing operations as well as insurgent support emanating from Pakistan. Regional Commands North, West, and Capital together comprise less than 8% of nationwide violence.
For the period January through August 2011, complex and coordinated attacks were 29% lower than the same period in 2010. These attacks reported during the period June to August 2011 were 33% lower than the same period in 2010. High profile attacks reported during the period January through August 2011 were the same as the number reported during the same period in 2010. The enemy-initiated attack effectiveness rate is approximately 20% in 2011, which is the same rate as in 2010.
The “United Nations Department of Safety and Security Report” has highlighted some of the differences in reporting of security incidents in U.N. reports, and those of the International Security and Assistance Force (ISAF).
The UN category of “security incidents” includes a wide range of events as contrasted in ISAF’s significant activities reports. The UN counts a number of additional event types that ISAF does not include in its definition of security incidents, such as; cache finds, arrests, assassinations, intimidation, and others. Approximately 25% of the total UN security incidents are event types that ISAF does not include in its definition of security incidents. We do track the majority of these events but do not combine them into the security incidents category.
An additional difference between the UN and ISAF categories of security incidents is that ISAF includes only attacks initiated by insurgent elements, whereas the UN includes all incidents regardless of which entity initiates the activity.
The bottom line on this is that the UN and ISAF security data differs in category, collection coverage and magnitude. These differences have resulted in varying conclusions about the security situation in Afghanistan.
In conclusion, ISAF maintains standards for data collection & reporting, knowledge management, data quality, and analysis that is conducive to military operational reporting. We stand by our process and have a high degree of confidence in our collection of data and its subsequent analysis.
Thank you for your time this afternoon. We will now take your questions.