US troop deaths double in Afghanistan

US troop deaths double in Afghanistan

The number of U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan has roughly doubled in the first three months of 2010 compared to the same period last year as Washington has added tens of thousands of additional soldiers to reverse the Taliban's momentum, AP reported.

Those deaths have been accompanied by a dramatic spike in the number of wounded, with injuries more than tripling in the first two months of the year and trending in the same direction based on the latest available data for March.

U.S. officials have warned that casualties are likely to rise even further as the Pentagon completes its deployment of 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan and sets its sights on the Taliban's home base of Kandahar province, where a major operation is expected in the coming months.

"We must steel ourselves, no matter how successful we are on any given day, for harder days yet to come," Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at a briefing last month.

In total, 57 U.S. troops were killed here during the first two months of 2010 compared with 28 in January and February of last year, an increase of more than 100 percent, according to Pentagon figures compiled by The Associated Press. At least 20 American service members have been killed so far in March, an average of about 0.8 per day, compared to 13, or 0.4 per day, a year ago.

The steady rise in combat deaths has generated less public reaction in the United States than the spike in casualties last summer and fall, which undermined public support in the U.S. for the 8-year-old American-led mission here. Fighting traditionally tapers off in Afghanistan during winter months, only to peak in the summer.

After a summer marked by the highest monthly death rates of the war, President Barack Obama faced serious domestic opposition over his decision in December to increase troops in Afghanistan, with only about half the American people supporting the move. But support for his handling of the war has actually improved since then, despite the increased casualties.

The latest Associated Press-GfK poll at the beginning of March found that 57 percent of those surveyed approved his handling of the war in Afghanistan compared to 49 percent two months earlier. The poll surveyed 1,002 adults nationwide and had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.2 percentage points.

Michael O'Hanlon, a foreign policy expert at the Brookings Institution, said the poll results could partly be a reaction to last month's offensive against the Taliban stronghold of Marjah in Helmand province, which the Obama administration painted as the first test of its revamped counterinsurgency strategy.

Some 10,000 U.S., NATO and Afghan forces seized control of the farming community of about 80,000 people while suffering relatively few deaths. But the Taliban continue to plant bombs at night and intimidate the locals, and the hardest part of the operation is yet to come: building an effective local government that can win over the loyalty of the people.

"My main thesis ... is that Americans can brace themselves for casualties in war if they consider the stakes high enough and the strategy being followed promising enough," O'Hanlon said. "But such progress in public opinion is perishable, if not right away then over a period of months, if we don't sustain the new momentum."

A rise in the number of wounded - a figure that draws less attention than deaths - shows that the Taliban remain a formidable opponent.

The number of U.S. troops wounded in Afghanistan and three smaller theaters where there isn't much battlefield activity rose from 85 in the first two months of 2009 to 381 this year, an increase of almost 350 percent. A total of 50 U.S. troops were wounded last March, an average of 1.6 per day. In comparison, 44 were injured during just the first six days of March this year, an average of 7.3 per day.

The increase in casualties was partly driven by the higher number of troops in Afghanistan in 2010. American troops rose from 32,000 at the beginning of last year to 68,000 at the end of the year, an increase of more than 110 percent.

"We've got a massive influx of troops, we have troops going into areas where they have not previously been and you have a reaction by an enemy to a new force presence," said NATO spokesman Lt. Col. Todd Breasseale.

The troop numbers have continued to rise in 2010 in line with the recent surge. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday that a third of the additional forces, or 10,000 troops, are already in Afghanistan. They plan to have all 30,000 troops in the country before the end of the year.

U.S. officials have said they plan to use many of the additional forces to reassert control in Kandahar province, where the insurgents have slowly taken territory over the past few years in an effort to boost their influence over Kandahar city, the largest metropolis in the south and the Taliban's former capital.

Many analysts believe the Kandahar operation will be much more difficult than the recent Marjah offensive because of the greater dispersion of Taliban forces, the urban environment in Kandahar city and the complex political and tribal forces at work in the province.

The goal of both operations is to put enough pressure on the Taliban to force them to the negotiating table to work out a political settlement to end the war - a process the U.S. believes will only gain momentum once the militant group has lost traction on the battlefield.

"Until they transition to that mode, then we will have fighters ready to take shots at us and plant IEDs (improvised explosive devices)," said Lt. Col. Calvert Worth Jr., commanding officer of the 1st Battalion, 6th Marines Regiment in central Marjah.

Bahar Azadi gold coin price still falling in Iran
Bahar Azadi gold coin price still falling in Iran
Ambassadors of Turkey, Iran to Azerbaijan hold discusses on Karabakh
Ambassadors of Turkey, Iran to Azerbaijan hold discusses on Karabakh
Import of Turkish ready-made clothes by Iran down
Import of Turkish ready-made clothes by Iran down
Loading Bars
Latest
France does not deserve Azerbaijan’s confidence – senator
Bahar Azadi gold coin price still falling in Iran
Bank mortgages in Azerbaijan rise
Full text of Azerbaijani parliament’s statement against French Senate’s resolution disclosed
Iran's economy remains strong and steady – Iran's president
Turkmenistan to be vital strategic partner, gas supplier to China long-term - Wood Mackenzie
EDB talks Kazakhstan's economy growth forecast, return to pre-COVID levels
Ambassadors of Turkey, Iran to Azerbaijan hold discusses on Karabakh
“I am quite sure that giving a hand to customers in this challenging time will pay off in the future”: interview with Dariusz Kacprzyk, Member of Supervisory Board of AccessBank Azerbaijan
Import of Turkish ready-made clothes by Iran down
Water resources of Azerbaijan’s Kalbajar district to be re-explored
Turkey's export of ready-made clothes to Uzbekistan down
Money supply in Azerbaijan grows - CBA
Lending to banking sector in Azerbaijan up
Turkmenistan raises 10M2020 imports of Turkish ready-made clothes
Uzbek gas chemical company opens tender for insurance services
Precious metal prices in Azerbaijan up
Azerbaijan’s natural gas exports to Turkey down by 8%
German manufactures interested in buying high-quality walnuts in Georgia
New carpet factory opens in Turkmenistan
German company builds float glass plant in Uzbekistan’s Zarafshan city
Iranian oil minister talks about petrochemical facilities launched in Iran
Azerbaijan can't be pressured by adopting some paper piece - parliament's vice speaker
Azerbaijani parliament voices appeal to government due to France
Azerbaijan to implement digitalization of services of local executive authorities
French Senate betrays democratic values - Turkish government
China's import of Turkish cement up
Azerbaijani parliament condemns resolution adopted by French Senate
AP highlights devastation caused by Armenia in Azerbaijan’s Aghdam
Azerbaijan's ADY Express boosts daily volume of cargo handling at Astara terminal
Turkish Foreign Ministry condemns French Senate’s resolution on Karabakh
French Senate's resolution is not binding, says ambassador
Azerbaijani Ministry of Communications developing final strategy of 'Smart City' project
Protesters give statement in front of French embassy in Baku (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Integration of modern solutions contributes to growth of online sales - MiMobile
Georgia eyes to minimize negative impact of global crisis on country's private sector
Int’l standard of energy management system to be introduced at Uzbekneftegaz facilities
LUKOIL to restore daily gas production in Uzbekistan
Turkmenistan building new greenhouses
Georgia reports 3,801 new cases of coronavirus
Azerbaijan's parliament to make statement on draft resolution adopted by French Senate
Israel changed plans to buy AstraZeneca vaccine
Azerbaijan to provide grants, loans, investments to startup environment
Minister talks benefit of pipeline from Russia to supply some Kazakh regions with gas
Uzbekistan to launch numerous petrochemical industry projects in 2021
Measures to attract investors to Uzbek mining, geological industry discussed at int’l forum
NCOC reports yet another milestone at Kazakhstan-based Kashagan field
Georgia looking for contractor for terminal extension at Kutaisi International Airport
Kazakhstan boosts trade turnover with Lithuania despite COVID-19
Snam raises planned investments in new strategy
Snam raises its emission reduction target to 50%
Number of enterprises launched in Iran's East Azerbaijan Province decreases
US Venture Fund to bring Azerbaijani projects to int'l markets
Azerbaijani oil prices on the rise
Turkmenistan, EU discuss prospects for development of greenhouses
French PROPARCO taking steps to support Georgian micro, small and medium-sized enterprises
Possible changes to OPEC+ quotas pose downside risks to Kazakhstan's economic forecast
Iran discloses details of exports from Razavi Khorasan Province
Income from communication services of Azerbaijan’s Nakhchivan up
Broad money value goes on increasing in Kazakhstan month-on-month
Snam outlines contribution to TAP’s implementation
Disney to layoff about 32,000 workers in first half of 2021
Iran declares details of exports from Qom Province
Southern Gas Corridor could carry new sources of energy in future – Eurogas
Kazakhstan’s Almaty Power Stations JSC extends tender to buy compressors
Turkmenistan, Russia agree to expand co-op in electric power industry
Azerbaijan implementing projects within North-South Transport Corridor
Europe needs fundamental restructuring of its energy system, says Eurogas
INPEX using drone technology, augmented reality to keep smooth output
India records 44,489 new coronavirus cases
France-24 shows reportage on Kalbajar district's liberation from Armenian occupation (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Central Bank of Azerbaijan talks advantages of digital payments
Iranian currency rates for November 26
Azerbaijani currency rates for Nov. 26
Senate's resolution over Nagorno Karabakh not reflecting French government's policy - MFA
Bitcoin price drops more than $1,000 in Asian trade
Turkmenistan, Russia aim to develop co-op in field of digital communication, information
Azerbaijan eliminating damages caused by Armenia to gas sector in Tartar's settlement (PHOTO)
Uzbekistan reveals its COVID-19 data for November 26
Iran beats new record on gas consumption
Iran releases data on exports from Tehran
Iran to expand trade with Azerbaijan
Iran to buy 42 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine
Armenian acts of terrorism on previously occupied territories of Azerbaijan must be condemned by European countries - US expert
Georgia reveals profit of microfinance sector
South Korea, China top diplomats vow to work on North Korea, COVID-19
Turkey mulls new support measures for businesses hit by COVID-19
Tehran-Najaf flights resumed
Kazakhstan detects 820 new coronavirus cases in 24 hrs
Incumbent MP Sopio Kiladze elected member of UN Committee on the Rights of the Child
Canada police supervisor denies effort to deceive Huawei CFO about indictment
Georgia E-Space to create synergy of solar power plant and electric car charging infrastructure
Amazon workers in Germany to go on strike on 'Black Friday'
Kazakhstan's KazMunayGas forecasts annual oil output decrease
More migrants relocated from Malta to EU countries
U.S. grants ByteDance new seven-day extension of TikTok sale order
82 bandits killed in Nigerian airstrikes
China, Kyrgyzstan to boost pragmatic cooperation
AzerGold CJSC talks plans for extraction of precious metals
Kazakhstan’s Almaty Power Stations JSC opens tender to buy compressors
All news