2011 On Pace to Match Deadliest Year in Afghanistan for U.S. Troops - 07-01-2011, 05:51 PM
Friday, July 01, 2011
2011 On Pace to Match Deadliest Year in Afghanistan for U.S. Troops | CNSnews.com
By Edwin Mora An Army carry team carries the transfer case containing the remains of Army Spc. Kevin J. Hilaman of Albany, Calif., upon arrival at Dover Air Force Base, Del. on Wednesday, June 29, 2011. Hilaman was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
(CNSNews.com) - At least 44 U.S. soldiers died in Afghanistan last month, bringing the total deaths from January through the end of June to 196. Thatís only four fewer than the number recorded in the same period of 2010 Ė which was the deadliest year so far for American troops in Afghanistan, according to CNSNews.com's tally.
There have been 1,554 American fatalities in Afghanistan since Oct. 7, 2001, when U.S. forces began fighting in that country to oust the Taliban regime that was harboring al Qaeda. (View Casualty Chart - june201casualtychart.pdf)
Since Barack Obama became president on January 20, 2009, there have been 985 U.S. military deaths, including 904 soldiers (about 92 percent) who were killed while supporting combat operations. The remaining non-combat deaths occurred as a result of accidents, illnesses, drowning, or some other non-combat cause.
Almost two-thirds (63 percent) of all deaths during the approximately decade-old Afghanistan war have taken place since Obama officially became president in early 2009.
Fatalities among U.S. forces in Afghanistan have increased 5-fold under the current administration.
The majority of the U.S. military deaths in the Afghanistan war have been combat-related. Since the war began, there have been 1,354 combat-related fatalities among the U.S. military in Afghanistan, which is about 87 percent of the total 1,554 deaths that have taken place since the war began.
The 196 fatalities so far this year are four fewer than the 200 that took place from January through the end of June in 2010. With 497 deaths, 2010 is the deadliest year for U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan so far.
The southern Afghan provinces of Kandahar and Helmand, where U.S. military activity is concentrated, continue to be the deadliest areas for American forces. Both of those provinces border Pakistan. More than 60 percent of all deaths this year have taken place along the Afghan-Pakistan border.
IEDs (improvised explosive devices continue to be the number one killer of U.S. forces in Afghanistan. According to experts, most of the material used to make IEDs is smuggled into Afghanistan from Pakistan.
CNSNews.comís database of U.S. military fatalities in Afghanistan is derived from official casualty reports issued by the Department of Defense (DOD), augmented by information taken from media accounts.
The database includes all U.S. troops who died or were fatally injured in and around Afghanistan while supporting military efforts against terrorism under Operation Enduring Freedom, which covers multiple countries. It also includes at least 12 Americans who died in Pakistan and at least three who died in the Arabian Sea while supporting combat operations in Afghanistan.
In December 2009, President Obama announced that he was increasing the U.S. presence in Afghanistan by 30,000 troops. Currently, the U.S. has a force of 100,000 in the country. The president announced on June 22 that 10,000 troops would be out by the end of this year and another 23,000 by September 2012. That will leave behind about 60,000 U.S. troops, which is still twice as many as the number of troops in that country under President George W. Bush.
U.S. military officials have indicated that despite the expected reduction in forces, the U.S. will maintain a military presence in Afghanistan beyond 2014. Gen. David Petraeus, who until recently was the top commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, told Congress that he would be open to maintaining a jointly operated military base in Afghanistan.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the ranking member of Senate Armed Services Committee, has indicated that he would support such a move.
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