Civilian Harm Tracking: Analysis of ISAF Efforts in Afghanistan

 

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A case study in civilian casualty tracking.

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Civilian Harm Tracking: Analysis of ISAF Efforts in Afghanistan

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Civilian Harm Tracking: Analysis of ISAF Efforts in Afghanistan

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This report was researched and written by Jennifer Keene, consultant with the Center for Civilians in Conflict and edited by Sahr Muhammedally, Senior Legal Advisor with the Center. Center for Civilians in Conflict is grateful for the insights of former Commanders of ISAF, current and former Civilian Casualty Cell and Mitigation Team officials, current and former ISAF officials, NATO headquarters, US military officials, Dr. Lawrence Lewis, former UNAMA officials, analysts on Afghanistan, and the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission. Copyright © 2014 Center for Civilians in Conflict All rights reserved Printed in the United States of America. Written by Jennifer Keene Edited by Sahr Muhammedally Cover image by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Michael B. W. Watkins Gunnery Sergeant Javier Vega walks to a US Army H-60 Black Hawk helicopter on camp Deh Dadi Two, Afghanistan on November 2, 2010. www.civiliansinconflict.org

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Table Contents GlossaryV A Case Study In Civilian Casualty Tracking Why Examine ISAF Civilian Casualty Tracking? Why and How did ISAF Implement Civilian Casualty Tracking? How did the CCTC Operate?  How did the CCTC Expand? 1 2 2 4 7 Challenges In Implementation And Operation Building Trust Through Transparency Making Tracking Civilian Casualties a Priority Establishing Coordination Across a Sub-Divided Theater  • • 10 10 13 15 15 16 17 17 18 Across Regional Commands Across Troop Contributing Countries Special Operations Forces and Clandestine Operations Afghan National Security Forces Accounting for Other Contributors to Civilian Casualties • • Successes And Limitations Lessons Identified Conclusion  20 21 23 Annex24 civiliansinconflict.org iii

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GLOSSARY AIHRC ANSF AMISOM BDA CCTC CCMT CCTARC CJOC COMISAF EOF ICRC IJC ISAF JCCS JIAT NATO OEF PICC RC-S HQ ROE SOF TTP TCC UNAMA USFOR-A Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission Afghan National Security Forces African Union Mission in Somalia Battle Damage Assessment Civilian Casualty Tracking Cell Civilian Casualty Mitigation Team Civilian Casualty Tracking Analysis and Response Cell Combined Joint Operations Command Commander of International Security Assistance Force Escalation of Force International Committee of the Red Cross ISAF Joint Command International Security Assistance Force Joint Civilian Casualty Study Joint Investigation Analysis Team North Atlantic Treaty Organization Operation Enduring Freedom Presidential Information Coordination Center Regional Command South Headquarters Rules of Engagement Special Operations Forces Tactics, Techniques and Procedures Troop Contributing Countries United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan United States Forces Afghanistan civiliansinconflict.org v

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civiliansinconflict.org vi

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A CASE STUDY IN CIVILIAN CASUALTY TRACKING In 2008, the NATO International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan established the Civilian Casualty Tracking Cell (CCTC) to collect data on civilian casualties. Civilian casualty tracking is one element of an emerging best practice of collecting and analyzing data on civilian harm in order to respond to and learn tactical lessons from that harm.1 ISAF’s CCTC was the first large-scale civilian casualty data tracking mechanism undertaken by a warring party. Our goal is to describe the development and operation of the CCTC, which evolved into the Civilian Casualty Mitigation Team (CCMT) in 2011, to understand the impetus for the mechanism, to identify challenges in its implementation, and to address successes and limitations in its operation. We identify lessons from this first attempt in order to inform future processes by armed actors. This study is based on twenty-seven interviews with ISAF, NATO, and U.S. military personnel, as well as civilian analysts and representatives of international organizations and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) who worked directly with the mechanism or engaged with CCTC/CCMT staff. The interviewees’ tenures span 2007-2014 and their perspectives represent their personal views rather than that of their current or previous affiliations unless otherwise stated.2 The study is meant to capture their views, and thus represents a spectrum of opinions on the successes and limitations of the actual mechanism. 1  See annex for further description of what the Center for Civilians in Conflict advocates should be incorporated in a comprehensive civilian harm tracking, analysis, and response process. 2  Names of some interviewees were withheld upon request. 1 civiliansinconflict.org

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Why Examine ISAF Civilian Casualty Tracking? As the first large-scale tracking of data on civilian harm by a warring party, the CCTC and subsequent CCMT present an opportunity to examine successes, limitations, and lessons identified. ISAF leadership created the CCTC in 2008 in response to a need to respond to allegations of ISAF-caused civilian casualties. The CCTC’s work proved valuable beyond this initial premise, prompting ISAF to expand the mechanism into the CCMT in 2011. The expansion brought more personnel, resources, and greater responsibility, including engagement with civil society on civilian casualty concerns. While ISAF’s civilian casualty tracking was only part of ISAF’s efforts to address civilian casualties, the CCTC and later CCMT, examined here in isolation, are commendable for drawing sustained attention to the operational impact of civilian casualties. Closer examination underscores the potential utility of civilian casualty tracking not solely for reputation protection, but also for providing guidance to ultimately reduce and prevent civilian casualties. Likewise, ISAF’s civilian casualty tracking shows the ability of a warring party to implement civilian casualty tracking by reallocating resources and prioritizing mitigating civilian harm. Additionally, examining the challenges faced by ISAF highlights considerations for parties implementing such mechanisms in other conflicts. These challenges should be studied and addressed by other armed actors seeking to gather and use data on civilian harm to mitigate such harm and improve their operations. Why and How did ISAF Implement Civilian Casualty Tracking?     The intent of the CCTC was two-fold: first, to be first with the truth, noting that     being first with the truth didn’t necessarily mean reporting first; and second,     not to let ISAF become totally reactionary. We didn’t always want to end up     responding, and at that point we were. We were behind.      – Former ISAF Commander General David McKiernan, January 2014 ISAF implemented civilian casualty tracking as a solution to a lack of timely and accurate information regarding suspected or alleged ISAF-caused civilian casualties. Recognition of this need became apparent over time. The United States launched Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) in Afghanistan in October 2001 following the September 11 attacks in the United States. Following the UN-initiated Bonn Conference to develop a roadmap for Afghanistan’s reconstruction, the United Nations in December 2001 authorized ISAF to assist the Afghan Transitional Authority. ISAF was initially led by six-month rotations of Troop Contributing Countries (TCC). When NATO assumed leadership of ISAF operations in August 2003, the international imperative was to provide reconstruction and training assistance to the Afghan government and the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). OEF maintained a concurrent mission in Afghanistan that continued to seek high value targets, with the bulk of kinetic action shouldered by U.S. troops. In October 2003, ISAF began to expand beyond Kabul in order to provide stability and security assistance in the Afghan provinces. The expansion took place in four stages from 2003-2006. By the last stage of expansion in 2006, ISAF commanded all international military forces across Afghanistan, although OEF remained in operation concurrently. At the civiliansinconflict.org 2

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same time, anti-government groups stepped up attacks, dramatically increasing the combat operations tempo. As ISAF and OEF combat operations increased, so too did civilian casualties.3 Prior to the CCTC, ISAF did not record allegations or rebuttals of civilian casualties, as this was not standard practice for militaries.4 NATO itself “did not have procedures or a coherent system to address civilian casualties.”5 Rather, notification of suspected civilian casualties was passed up the chain of command, varying in detail from when, where, and who was involved to what type of tactic may have caused the event.6 Follow-up was conducted primarily at the tactical level, with responses such as providing condolence or ex-gratia payments at the discretion of the tactical commander and legal investigations where warranted.7 Because collection of data was not standardized, ISAF often lacked complete information in the face of civilian casualty allegations. Likewise, discrepancies in ISAF data in comparison with other organizations, such as the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) suggested to ISAF personnel and the humanitarian and human rights communities that ISAF’s reporting mechanisms were weak.8 In May 2007, ISAF leadership ordered an internal report discussing the effect of civilian casualties caused by an April 2007 U.S. air strike in Shindand, Herat province. The report prompted then-ISAF Commander (COMISAF) General Dan McNeill to issue ISAF’s first tactical directive regarding civilian casualties in June 2007.9 The tactical directive recommended changes in tactics that directly affected civilians, such as restricting uninvited entry into Afghan homes or mosques and limiting the use of aerial and indirect fire.10 In June 2008, shortly after General David McKiernan assumed command, ISAF was involved in two high profile incidents resulting in numerous civilian casualties.11 Information on these events from local NGOs, the Taliban, and international organizations differed so dramatically from ISAF’s data that ISAF recognized the need for action. 3  See e.g., Human Rights Watch, Troops in Contact: Airstrikes and Civilian Deaths in Afghanistan, September 2008, http://www.hrw.org/reports/2008/09/08/troops-contact-0 (accessed April 30, 2014). 4  Neither the United States nor UNAMA tracked civilian casualties systematically in this manner before 2007. Additionally, when interviewed by the Center, three former members of ISAF leadership each noted that the political effect of civilian casualties on the relationship between international forces and the national government, media, and population was comparatively greater in the low-intensity theater of Afghanistan than in the concurrent conflict in Iraq. As noted in Center interview with General David McKiernan, Former ISAF Commander, 2008-2009, January 23, 2014; Center interview with Former Senior ISAF Commander (name withheld), interview no. 8, January 17, 2014; and Center interview with Former Senior ISAF Leadership (name withheld), interview no. 24, February 18, 2014. 5  Center interview with Rob Ayasse, Afghanistan Operations Team, NATO Headquarters, January 16, 2014; also noted in Center interview with Current ISAF CCMT Official (name withheld), interview no. 19, February 9, 2014. 6  Center interview with Major General Gordon B. Davis, Jr., Chief of the Strategic Advisory Group to COMISAF, May 2008-July 2009, March 18, 2014. 7  For more information on making amends to civilians harmed in Afghanistan, see Center for Civilians in Conflict, U.S. Military Claims System for Civilians, April 2007; and Center for Civilians in Conflict, Losing the People: The Costs and Consequences of Civilian Suffering in Afghanistan, February 2009. 8  Noted in Center interview with General David McKiernan, Former Commander-ISAF, 2008-2009, January 23, 2014; Center interview with Former Senior UNAMA Human Rights Official (name withheld), interview no. 3, December 23, 2013; Center interview with Rachel Reid, Afghanistan Analyst at Human Rights Watch, 2008-2011, January 6, 2014; and Center interview with Rob Ayasse, Afghanistan Operations Team, NATO Headquarters, January 16, 2014. 9  Center interview with Maj. Gen. Gordon B. Davis, Jr., former Chief of the Strategic Advisory Group to COMISAF, March 18, 2014. 10  Center interview with Rob Ayasse, Afghanistan Operations Team, NATO Headquarters, January 16, 2014. 11  As described in a 2008 UNAMA report, “[incidents included] a number of high-profile cases, including air strikes carried out in Deh Bala district in Nangahar Province on July 6, 2008 which resulted in the deaths of 47 civilians, including 30 children . . . . [Additionally,] in several incidents, compounds with an alleged insurgent presence were targeted in air strikes but civilians were also killed in such attacks. One such case is an incident (July 4) in Nuristan in which UNAMA documented the death of 17 civilians; this included two women and some medical staff who were killed while trying to leave the area.” UNAMA, Armed Conflict and Civilian Casualties, Afghanistan, Trends and Developments 1 January - 31 August 2008, September 10, 2008, http:// www.ohchr.org/Documents/Countries/Armed%20ConflictCivilianCassualties2008.pdf (accessed May 2, 2014). 3 civiliansinconflict.org

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“We recognized that we couldn’t correlate data on allegations collected and forwarded by the United Nations Human Rights office because they didn’t track data which could allow us to triangulate specific location, specific time, type of munitions used or indications of units involved and they wouldn’t release sources,” said Major General Gordon B. Davis, Jr., Chief of the Strategic Advisory Group to the COMISAF from May 2008 to July 2009, in an interview with the Center. “We decided to capture every allegation from locals, from media, from Afghan authorities, and from other organizations to understand what was occurring.”12 Since ISAF’s inception, Standard Operating Procedure 302 (SOP 302) outlined the procedures and the information to be reported by the unit that witnessed or inflicted civilian casualties.13 On July 24, 2008, ISAF leadership issued Fragmentary Order 221 (FRAGO 221) that, for the first time, required units to treat all allegations, regardless of source, as items for investigation. Reporting included the issuance of: • • A First Impression Report, to be submitted by units within two hours of an actual or suspected civilian casualty incident; A Second Impression Report, to be submitted within eight hours of the First Impression Report, including the context of the specific operation and information such as whether local officials were contacted or medical care was provided; and An Investigation Recommendation Report, to be submitted within seventy-two hours of the incident if a civilian was killed or there was potential ISAF misconduct.14 • A third, more dramatic incident—an airstrike on August 22, 2008 in Azizabad, Herat Province15—again resulted in considerable civilian casualties, further underscoring to ISAF leadership that the command “was not able to control the scene of the incident in order to determine facts and prevent disinformation by insurgents.”16 In late August 2008, COMISAF General McKiernan ordered the creation of the Civilian Casualty Tracking Cell—the “final, most important step in a long discussion.”17 By October 2008, the CCTC began collecting the reported information from units as well as reporting allegations of civilian casualties brought to ISAF HQ.18 How did the CCTC Operate? The CCTC initially served to strengthen ISAF’s internal situational awareness of civilian casualties and to respond quickly and accurately to allegations of civilian casualties. Its structure and procedures largely developed to meet those responsibilities. The initial mechanism itself was modest, requiring negligible planning and reallocation of resources.19 Civilian personnel were hired by the end of 2008 to liaise with civilian organizations and crosscheck data.20 12  Center interview with Maj. Gen. Gordon B. Davis, Jr., former Chief of the Strategic Advisory Group to COMISAF, March 18, 2014. 13  Center interview with Current ISAF CCMT Official (name withheld), interview no. 19, February 9, 2014. 14  Center interview with Maj. Gen. Gordon B. Davis, Jr., Chief of the Strategic Advisory Group to COMISAF, May 2008-July 2009, March 18, 2014. 15  For a description of the discrepancies in numbers of civilian casualties resulting from the Azizabad airstrike see Carlotta Gall, “Evidence of Air Strike in Afghanistan Seems to Rebut U.S. Account,” The New York Times, September 8, 2008, http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/08/world/asia/08iht-afghan.1.15972217. html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 (visited April 15, 2014). See also Human Rights Watch, Troops in Contact: Airstrikes and Civilian Deaths in Afghanistan. 16  Center interview with Maj. Gen. Gordon B. Davis, Jr., former Chief of the Strategic Advisory Group to COMISAF, March 18, 2014. 17  Center interview with Rob Ayasse, Afghanistan Operations Team, NATO Headquarters, January 16, 2014. 18  Until ISAF established “Incident Response Teams,” the task of seeking out critical information which would pass up to the CCTC was left to the units. Center interview with Maj. Gen. Gordon B. Davis, Jr., former Chief of the Strategic Advisory Group to COMISAF, March 18, 2014. 19  Center interview with Rob Ayasse, Afghanistan Operations Team, NATO Headquarters, January 16, 2014. 20  Center interview with Maj. Gen. Gordon B. Davis, Jr., former Chief of the Strategic Advisory Group to COMISAF, March 18, 2014. civiliansinconflict.org 4

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Every instance of suspected or confirmed civilian casualties in ISAF field operations continued to be recorded at the troop level and reported up the ISAF chain of command. The CCTC’s small staff, housed within the Combined Joint Operations Center (CJOC) in Kabul, entered the data into a spreadsheet with basic data fields such as date and time of the incident, place and type of operation, and the numbers of civilians killed or injured. CCTC staff then used the data to attempt to verify civilian casualty allegations and keep COMISAF, other ISAF leadership, and U.S. Strategic Command informed.21 Sharing data with outside actors, including non-governmental organizations, required commanding officers’ approval.22 The CCTC’s official dedicated staff was at the time civilian-only, overseen by colonels within the Combined Joint Operations Center who oversaw them. The staff size in total fluctuated between two and five individuals, dependent on the evolution of the ISAF mission and reorganization of its resources.23 In both the CCTC and later CCMT, civilian personnel were hired for their understanding of Afghan culture, their ability to liaise with organizations external to ISAF, and their experience with data.24 Separately from the CCTC, significant events or allegations of civilian casualties continued to be investigated for legal violations by the troop-contributing country whose forces were involved. Guidance from ISAF leadership later institutionalized the flow of data to the CCTC. In July 2009, then COMISAF General Stanley McChrystal issued a tactical directive that amplified reporting requirements, requiring Battle Damage Assessments (BDAs) for all incidents of air strikes and indirect fire.25 Maj. Gen. Davis explained:                             [The July 2009 Tactical Directive] was the first to make the point that civilian casualties could cause ISAF to fail in its mission. It linked our main effort to protect the population with the need to do everything in our power to avoid civilian casualties. It was a significant shift in mindset . . .that put the onus on commanders to ensure the use of lethal force was not employed in ways that would risk civilian casualties and to accept risk of insurgents escaping or living to fight another day if the alternative meant [harming civilians].26 The same month, ISAF also released Standard Operating Procedure 307 (SOP 307), putting guidance on civilian casualties under a unified “Battle Drill” or procedural checklist.27 According to current CCMT official, SOP 307 also institutionalized the CCTC and later the CCMT, as the “authoritative repository of civilian casualties taking place in the Afghanistan Theater of Operations.”28 21  Center interview with Lauren Sweeney, former Civilian Casualty Tracking Cell Manager, January-November 2009, December 20, 2013. 22  In the early days of the CCTC, civilian organizations like UNAMA, Human Rights Watch and the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) provided information regarding the civilian casualty incidents they had investigated to ISAF. Center interview with Lauren Sweeney, former CCTC Manager, December 20, 2013. 23  Center interview with current ISAF CCMT official (name withheld), interview no. 19, February 9, 2014. 24  Center interview with Lauren Sweeney, former CCTC Manager, December 20, 2013. 25  See also, Sarah Sewall and Lawrence Lewis, Joint Civilian Casualty Study, August 2010. 26  Center interview with Maj. Gen. Gordon B. Davis, Jr., Chief of the Strategic Advisory Group to COMISAF, March 18, 2014. See NATO/ISAF July 2009 Tactical Directive, http://www.nato.int/isaf/docu/official_texts/Tactical_ Directive_090706.pdf (accessed March 20, 2014). 27  Center interview with Maj. Gen. Gordon B. Davis, Jr., former Chief of the Strategic Advisory Group to COMISAF, March 18, 2014. 28  Center interview with current ISAF CCMT official (name withheld), interview no. 19, February 9, 2014. 5 civiliansinconflict.org

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In August 2010, then COMISAF General David Petraeus replaced the July 2009 directive with one reiterating the importance of minimizing civilian casualties and partnering with ANSF units.29 Finally, in November and December 2011, COMISAF General John Allen issued two tactical directives: the first re-emphasizing reduction of civilian casualties in general, the second revising policies on night operations, and directing forces to report not only casualties but property damage.30 ISAF also created Joint Incident Assessment Teams (JIATs) in 2009, composed of Afghan government-appointed representatives and ISAF personnel, including an ISAF general officer to investigate incidents. The teams were disbanded once investigations were complete. According to Maj. Gen. Davis, reports produced by JIATs were intended to “[determine] the facts, regardless of what that might mean, to recommend actions to be taken to avoid casualties in future, and to recommend changes in techniques or procedures that might be relevant across the force.”31 While the JIATs were not formally linked to the CCTC, information from JIAT investigations would flow to the CCTC. ISAF did not have dedicated personnel who could be assigned to every significant investigation, although some individuals who previously served on JIATs were called for multiple investigations.32 For nearly a year, according to former civilian CCTC Manager Lauren Sweeney, CCTC personnel often lacked sufficient information to verify or refute external allegations33—a significant weakness as a messaging tool. ISAF did not previously maintain comprehensive, centrally archived historical data on ISAF civilian casualties,34 and it took time to make clear the need for reporting this information up to ISAF HQ and to streamline this reporting at lower levels and across regional commands and TCCs. Additionally, “competing [internal] visions” on which external organizations or individuals could receive information from ISAF— and how that information could be shared—created the initial impression that ISAF was either hiding information or refusing to cooperate.35 But data gradually accumulated. By the end of 2009, the CCTC had amassed enough information on suspected or sustained civilian casualties to begin to examine the data for trends.36 The aggregated data was then used for reports and recommendations addressing civilian casualty mitigation and given to ISAF leadership. By 2010, officers within the CJOC at ISAF HQ, CCTC personnel, the office of the Senior Civilian Representative and NATO Headquarters staff pressed for expansion of the mechanism and greater resources to CCTC so it could provide more guidance on addressing civilian casualties and better outreach to civil society.37 The effort was underscored by General McChrystal’s emphasis on creating a single ISAF/OEF focal point on civilian casualties.38 Thus, three years into its operation, ISAF expanded the CCTC. 29  ISAF News Release, “General Petreaus Issues Updated Tactical Directive: Emphasizes “Disciplined Use of Force,” August 8, 2010, http://www.isaf.nato.int/article/isaf-releases/general-petraeus-issues-updated-tacticaldirective-emphasizes-disciplined-use-of-force.html (accessed May 7, 2014). 30  ISAF/USFOR-A, COMISAF’s Tactical Directive, November 30, 2011, http://www.isaf.nato.int/images/ docs/20111105%20nuc%20tactical%20directive%20revision%204%20(releaseable%20version)%20r.pdf (accessed May 7, 2014) and ISAF/USFOR-A, COMISAF Night Operations Tactical Directive, December 1, 2011, http://www.isaf.nato.int/images/docs/20111105%20nuc%20night%20operations%20tactical%20directive%20 (releaseable%20version)%20r.pdf (accessed May 7, 2014). 31  Center interview with Maj. Gen. Gordon B. Davis, Jr., former Chief of the Strategic Advisory Group to COMISAF, March 18, 2014. 32  Center interview with Dr. Lawrence Lewis, Center for Naval Analyses, January 23, 2014. 33  Center interview with Lauren Sweeney, former CCTC Manager, December 20, 2013. 34  Center interview with Rob Ayasse, Afghanistan Operations Team, NATO Headquarters, January 16, 2014. 35  Center interview with Lauren Sweeney, former CCTC Manager, December 20, 2013 and Center interview with Ashley Jackson, former Oxfam Head of Policy in Afghanistan, December 20, 2013. 36  Center interview with Lauren Sweeney, former CCTC Manager, December 20, 2013. 37  Center interview with Rob Ayasse, Afghanistan Operations Team, NATO Headquarters, January 16, 2014. 38  Ibid. civiliansinconflict.org 6

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How did the CCTC Expand? In mid-2011, the CCTC expanded into the Civilian Casualty Mitigation Team (CCMT) of which the CCTC’s data-gathering capabilities became only one part. Military personnel joined the mechanism led by a Colonel whose role was dedicated to addressing civilian casualties.39 Likewise, the CCMT created internal working groups, whose membership included representatives from ISAF HQ and subordinate commands, to provide guidance on civilian casualty avoidance and mitigation.40 Internally, while maintaining the CCTC’s responsibilities for collecting and maintaining data, the CCMT’s mandate included: • • Coordinating subject-specific studies and providing recommendations to ISAF leadership; Leading the working groups and decision-making bodies that addressed modification or establishment of guidelines, tactical directives, standard operating procedures, or fragmentary orders; and Collecting and archiving lessons and best practices regarding civilian casualties within ISAF.41 • Externally, expansion of the CCMT sought to strengthen ISAF’s relationship with its Afghan counterparts, international organizations, and NGOs. According to ISAF, this effort included: • Monitoring implementation of civilian casualty mitigation measures that included ensuring joint Afghan government and ISAF assessment of contentious civilian casualty incidents; Organizing civil-military working groups and conferences; Conducting outreach and interfacing with international organizations and NGOs through bilateral meetings, including with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), UNAMA, the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), and others; and Pursuing opportunities to strengthen the capacity of the Afghan government and security forces’ civilian casualty avoidance and mitigation capacities.42 • • • The CCMT was also able to document and follow up on responses to civilians harmed within the rules of engagement of the forces such as making amends including condolence or exgratia payments. However, these responses were only tracked for incidents of civilian death and injury caused by ISAF and did not include property damage or destruction—although ISAF Troop Contributing Countries were making amends in some instances of property damage at the tactical level.43 A current CCMT official explained: 39  The presence of the Colonel facilitated communication with other branches and with the leadership, whereby adding greater competence in interpreting and analyzing civilian casualty events. Furthermore, the expansion into the CCMT did not require additional skill sets or considerable outside hiring; instead, similar capacities existed “in every NATO mission and military HQ.” The CCMT was therefore, “simply a way for ISAF to organize all these capacities in an efficient matter and it represents a secretariat for civilian casualties within the HQ.” Center interview with Current ISAF CCMT Official (name withheld), interview no. 19, February 9, 2014. 40  Additionally, the working group feeds into the Civilian Casualty Avoidance and Mitigation Board, chaired by the Deputy Commander, conducted quarterly to address and make recommendations for civilian casualty avoidance and mitigation. Noted in information released to the Center by current CCMT officials. 41  Center interview with Current ISAF CCMT Official (name withheld), interview no. 19, February 9, 2014. 42  Ibid. Maj. Gen. Davis also noted to the Center that many of these external engagements began in September 2008 as a part of General McKiernan’s Strategic Communications Working Group. The evolution to the CCMT continued and expanded such engagements. In Center interview with Maj. Gen. Gordon B. Davis, Jr., former Chief of the Strategic Advisory Group to COMISAF, March 18, 2014. 43  See Center for Civilians in Conflict, Addressing Civilian Harm in Afghanistan: Policies and Practices of International Forces, June 2010. Note also that condolence payments were often made at the scene and, while reporting of the casualty would travel rapidly up the chain of command, reporting of the amends could take some time. Center interview with Colonel Mark Gray MBE Royal Marines, ISAF Chief of Current Operations, July 2011-May 2012, March 3, 2014. 7 civiliansinconflict.org

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