Former U.K. Commander in Afghanistan: IDF’s Civilian Casualty Ratio ‘Better Than Most – if Not All – Other Armies’

IDF Soldiers ride in armored personnel carriers on October 17, 2023 in Be'eri, Israel
Alexi J. Rosenfeld/Getty Images

Israel’s military has “achieved a significantly better civilian-to-combatant casualty ratio in battle than most — if not all — other armies,” according to former commander of British forces in Afghanistan Colonel Richard Kemp, who acknowledged the IDF’s success despite the fact that Hamas fights “from within the civilian population,” uses “human shields,” and “deliberately [tries] to force the IDF to kill as many of their civilians as possible,” so that the world “turns on Israel and falsely condemns it for war crimes.” 

In a video clip posted to X on Thursday, Kemp noted that the IDF is “currently estimating civilian to combatant casualty ratios in this war at around 2-to-1.” 

“That means two civilians killed for every fighter killed,” he said.  

While civilian casualties during combat are “always devastating and tragic,” unfortunately, Kemp explained, “they’re a feature of almost every war.” 

“Many times, I have seen the horror of civilian casualties, despite the immense efforts the British Army and our allied armies take to avoid them,” he said.

The former commander, who led British forces in Afghanistan in 2003 and later joined the committee supervising the country’s intelligence services, pointed to UN estimates “that the civilian to combatant death ratio in conflicts since the Second World War averages 9-to1.”

“That is a shocking nine civilians killed for every combatant,” he said. 

“That figure reflects the fact it includes conflicts involving armies that have no regard for civilians, for example, the Syrian Army, the Russian army and the armies of other dictatorships,” he added.

In contrast, he noted, the British and Americans are “very careful to minimize civilian deaths.” 

“In Iraq, estimates suggest U.S. forces killed three civilians for every combatant, and in Afghanistan between 3[-to-1] and 5-to-1. In previous conflicts in Gaza, the IDF has achieved a significantly more favorable casualty ratio, generally between 0.6-to-1 and 2-to-1,” he said. 

“It’s still awful,” he added, “but much better than most, if not all, other armies engaged in combat.”

On Sunday, the IDF reported that roughly 14,500 terrorists were killed in the two northernmost governorates of Gaza, while the Strip’s Hamas-run Health Ministry claims a total of 18,000 Palestinian deaths.

According to Kemp, the IDF have “historically achieved such comparatively low ratios, despite the reality that Hamas fight from within the civilian population, use human shields, and deliberately try to force the IDF to kill as many of their civilians as possible.” 

“This is so the world turns on Israel and falsely condemns it for war crimes with help from much of the media, the UN and so-called human rights groups,” he said.  

“It works every time, encouraging Hamas to do it again and again,” he added.

Last month, retired United States Army Major and urban warfare expert John Spencer shed light on Hamas’s strategy to “create their own civilians’ deaths and get the world to react,” in order to prevent the IDF from eliminating their military capabilities, claiming that the tactic “is working.” 

 In October, Kemp blamed President Joe Biden for “continuously appeasing” Iran, and called for “the strongest U.S. support for Israel in this conflict,” warning that further American “weakness” could encourage hostile nations to exploit the situation. 

Last year, he criticized the Biden administration’s “insane foreign policies,” including the U.S.’s “humiliation” in Afghanistan, its increasing oil dependence on Moscow, and its obsession with “gender pronouns, political correctness, [and] environmentalism,” as he called to support Ukrainian resistance, depose President Putin, and withdraw support for an Iran nuclear deal, all while warning of the increasing Chinese threat. 

He also warned that Biden’s “misguided policies over Iran will help make the world a more dangerous place.” 

Previously, Kemp slammed Biden’s exit from Afghanistan, describing it as the “greatest victory for jihadists,” a “blow for American prestige” — worse than 9/11 — which won’t recover for decades, and “the greatest foreign affairs and military catastrophe since the Second World War.”

Joshua Klein is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at Follow him on Twitter @JoshuaKlein.


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