A coalition airstrike destroys an ISIS-K fighting position during Afghan Commando offensive operations in Mohmand Valley, Nangarhar province on Feb. 4, 2018. (U.S. Army/Spc. Jacob Krone)

Afghan and Western military officials believe that ISIS is nearing defeat in Afghanistan following a weeks-long assault on the terror group's main bastion in the eastern part of the country, the New York Times reports.

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The number of people killed by the Global War on Terror now stands at 801,000, nearly half of which were likely civilians, according to new research conducted by Brown University's Costs of War project.

Though the numbers are staggering, it may not tell the whole story, researchers warn. Since the study only tallied the number of direct war deaths (including drone strikes and IEDs), the real death toll may be much higher. Indirect deaths, such as veteran suicides or deaths caused by lack of access to food, water, medicine and/or related infrastructure, remain uncounted; and some direct combat deaths just haven't been recorded, researchers said.

"Indeed, we may never know the total direct death toll in these wars," Brown researchers observed in a 2018 paper. "For example, tens of thousands of civilians may have died in retaking Mosul and other cities from ISIS but their bodies have likely not been recovered."

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KABUL (Reuters) - Afghan security units backed by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) have carried out extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances, indiscriminate air strikes and other rights abuses and should be disbanded, a rights group said on Thursday.

Human Rights Watch said it investigated 14 cases in which CIA-backed Afghan counterinsurgency forces committed serious abuses in Afghanistan between late 2017 and mid-2019.

"They are illustrative of a larger pattern of serious laws-of-war violations — some amounting to war crimes — that extends to all provinces in Afghanistan where these paramilitary forces operate with impunity," the group said in a report.

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Army Master Sgt. Matthew Williams had other plans for his life.

He wanted to join the FBI, and he got a degree in criminal justice. He told Task & Purpose on Tuesday that he jokes that he "never grew up" from the little boy who wanted to be a policeman, or firefighter. But like countless other soldiers, his plans completely changed after September 11, 2001. The Boerne, Texas, native joined the Army in 2005, and went into Special Forces.

The beginning of Master Sgt. Williams' story isn't very remarkable — but the rest of it is something else entirely.

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Navy SEAL-turned-congressman Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Tex.) believes the United States should maintain a permanent military presence in Afghanistan similar to bases in former war zones such as Germany, Japan, and South Korea in order to prevent terrorist groups from plotting the next 9/11-style attack on U.S. soil.

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Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Radio Free Europe/Radio Free Liberty.

The United Nations said that an "unprecedented" number of civilians were killed or wounded in Afghanistan from July to September, calling the violence "totally unacceptable."

The UN said in a report on October 17 that the 1,174 deaths and 3,139 injured amount to a 42 percent increase over the same time period last year.

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