Afghanistan’s Census of the Dead

What the WikiLeaks data reveal about civilian and enemy casualties of war. An interactive chart.

Nearly 77,000 of the 92,000 military documents unveiled by WikiLeaks this week are individual incident reports from the war in Afghanistan. Each report tallies the number of soldiers, civilians, and enemy targets both wounded and killed. While no one was hurt in the majority of the incidents, these reports, read in aggregate, offer a sterile but hyper-detailed picture of the dead and wounded on all sides of the nearly decadelong war.

The following visualization focuses on enemy and civilian casualties over the past five years. For each month from January 2004 to December 2009, the bars show the number of enemy fighters reported killed (dark green) and wounded (light green), as well as civilian dead (dark red) and civilian wounded (light red). Buyer beware: These numbers cannot be realistically verified given the shadowy nature of their release by WikiLeaks, which does not reveal its sources. The military’s figures total to 3,994 civilians killed and 9,044 wounded, while 15,219 enemies were killed and 1,824 wounded.

Drag the scrollbar at the bottom to progress through time, and use the dropdown menus to compare, for example, the difference between the number of civilians and enemy fighters killed each month. Your comparison will be graphed in the blue bars at the bottom.

Correction, July 27, 2010: An earlier version of the legend at the top of this chart mistakenly swapped the colors for “civilians wounded” and “civilians killed” as well as for “enemies wounded” and “enemies killed.”Like Slate on Facebook. Follow us on  Twitter.