Thursday, July 21, 2011

Conflict spreading in Afghanistan over time

Based on the data retrieved from the Wikileaks it appears that the conflict in Afghanistan has spread over time.  The following series of images present frequency of attacks in Afghanistan from 2004 to 2009. Notice that in 2004 (the upper left corner), most attacks were concentrated along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, which is home to the Pashtuns in Afghanistan. This would also make sense since most Afghan Taliban are ethnic Pushtuns.

However, as one moves from 2004 to 2009, one sees a dramatic spreading of attacks along Afghan border, even along the Western border with Iran. The distribution of attacks in 2009 (lower right corner) suggests both an increase in the number of attacks as well as spreading of the conflict to parts of Afghanistan that were immune to the violence earlier.

It will be interesting to see what the latest numbers suggest in the post-surge Afghanistan.

Another interesting sidebar on the maps presented below is that the data analysis and the generation of the maps was done using R, which is a freeware stats software enabling social scientists to paint pictures with data that was not possible earlier.

Click on the image below to see the original post and a larger version of the image.


The above graphic has been produced by Drew Conway, who is a PhD student in political science at New York University. Drew studies terrorism and armed conflict; using tools from mathematics and computer science to gain a deeper understanding of these phenomena.

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