May 25, 2007

Another Afghan fatality estimate

The Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission has come up with its own estimate of civilian deaths in Afghanistan in 2006 and 2007.

Specifically, it says approximately 700 civilians were killed in 2006, and 136 so far in 2007. It also says 60% (500) were the result of Coalition actions, and the remainder (c. 240) due to Taliban actions.

Note that the total numbers are close to previous counts by UNAMA, the AP, and Human Rights Watch, albeit with some variance in the proportions. For instance, HRW estimated that of 900 civilian deaths they counted in 2006, at least 230 were attributable to Western forces.

Two things that are obviously noteworthy is that this latest estimate tends to confirm that violence in Afghanistan this year is certainly not worse than it was in 2006, at least not yet... with a third of the campaign year gone, civilian casualties are less than a third of what they were the year before... it also confirms that Afghanistan remains significantly more stable than Iraq, where 136 fatalities would be a relatively unremarkable daily total rather that a 4-5 month tally.

Posted by BruceR at 11:24 AM

LOTR Online update

Night #9: Main char level: 13.2. Character deaths last night: 2.

Highlights were making my first crafted item, entirely from stuff I picked up. I'm really appreciating the Historian profession, which allows you to root around ruins picking up artifacts and making XP or money off them. Never much into the mining, myself.

The rest of the night was practicing two-man group play, again with strangers. Playing a healing class is always an interesting tactical challenge. There were at least two times I was just brilliant last night, timing the heal just perfectly, and four times either I or my partner died. (We never wiped, interestingly.) Generally these all involved aggroed opponents being all over me, preventing me from getting the heal off. As a lowbie minstrel, you've basically got three choices in a LOTRO fight. You can stand off to one side twisting low-level songs and doing light, steady damage to your opponents; you can hit them with a shout attack and really hurt them, or you can heal the fighters. Either of the last two choices inevitably switches some of the monsters to attacking you: this either leaves the group without a healer, so their lives are threatened, or possibly kills you. I'm still working out the tactical nuances, but that's the basic template. It's complicated when you're facing enemies some of whom have their own ranged attacks, when you need someone to close the distance to neutralize. In my best move of the night, my twosome jumped over a wall and into a fight. The fighter had his hands full, but I judged he could hang on a while; meanwhile the hostile supporting archer was closer to me. So I closed on him, finished him off, then turned around and fired off a heal when the fighter was down around 3 hit points left. A second's hesitation would have meant the difference between success and failure, and a real live human being angry at you somewhere in the world. Human gratitude, on the flip side, is so much better than scripted NPC thank yous. That's what's fun about these games.

Posted by BruceR at 09:49 AM