I was recently referred to this AP article, which I read on Huffington Post
The article describes how during the course of this year a greater number of civilians are being hurt and killed in the war in Afghanistan.
Troops on the ground note that insurgents are beginning to directly target groups of civilians, often with IED's. This sounds very similar to the difference I saw between my two deployments to Iraq. The second time around, in 2007, there were many more injured civilians, including women and children. They were injured in insurgent attacks designed to kill the most civilians, such as suicide bombers in busy markets, IED's in city streets, and attacks where vehicles carrying civilians were sprayed with automatic gunfire.
This targeting of civilians is a strategy of desperation. Some troops have found the restrictive rules of engagement that protect civilians frustrating, but in the long term, that respect of life is something we can be proud of.