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Rising Afghanistan death toll: monthly U.S. and NATO troops fatalities in Afghanistan surpassing those in Iraq


By WcP.Watchful.Eye - Posted on 15 July 2008

monthly death tolls of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan surpassed U.S. military deaths in Iraq in May and June

(quote)

KABUL, Afghanistan - Insurgents armed with machine guns, mortars, and rocket-propelled grenades mounted a fierce assault on a remote, relatively lightly manned US outpost in northeastern Afghanistan on June 13, killing nine American soldiers. It was the largest loss of US troops' lives in a single assault in Afghanistan since June 2005, when 16 Americans died when a helicopter was shot down in the same province. Fifteen Americans and four Afghan soldiers were wounded. The province, Kunar, is a swath of mountainous terrain that borders Pakistan.

Although Afghanistan's south is the traditional heartland of the Taliban insurgency, the east has seen a sharp upsurge in attacks over the past few months. The 9 deaths accelerated what had been a rapidly rising fatality count among coalition troops. During May and June, the 65 deaths among US and other NATO troops killed in Afghanistan outnumbered American military fatalities in Iraq.

Afghanistan foreign troop deaths in May & June exceed those in Iraq

US officials are considering reducing forces from Iraq in coming months, partly to provide more troops for Afghanistan. Commanders have said they need at least 10,000 additional troops here. Although the attackers were driven back, the toll they exacted was undeniably heavy. The senior Defense Department official said the outpost was staffed by 45 American troops and 25 Afghan National Army soldiers. That would mean that 1 in 5 of the American defenders was killed, and one-third wounded.

NATO has said the insurgents deliberately seek to fuel tensions along the border by directing fire at Western troops inside Afghanistan from across the border in Pakistan. Last month, 11 Pakistani paramilitary troops were killed when coalition troops called in air strikes after being fired on - an attack that drew an angry protest from Pakistan's new coalition government.

Marine speaks on radio during patrol in Helmand Province of Afghanistan

The attack was unusual in its audacity. Taliban guerrillas rarely make sustained frontal assaults on much better-armed coalition forces, preferring hit-and-run attacks and roadside bombs. It would be considered an enormous battlefield coup for the insurgents to capture a coalition base, particularly if they were able to take captives and seize weaponry. Insurgents often videotape their attacks on Western forces and use the images in recruiting and propaganda videos. Coalition officials said that insurgents fired from homes and a mosque in the village of Wanat, near the American outpost. The NATO-led security force accuses Taliban militants of routinely using civilian areas as a staging ground for attacks.

(unquote)

Images courtesy of Press TV, Boston Globe, and AP / Rafiq Maqbool

Original Source: Boston Globe

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