Afghan War Toll

January 31, 2013 - 2:31 PM
FILE - In this July 30, 2012, file photo, transfer cases containing the remains of Army Spc. Benjamin C. Pleitez, left case, Army Sgt. 1st Class Bobby L. Estle, right case and Army Pfc. Jose Oscar Belmontes, case not shown, sit on a loader during a prayer at Dover Air Force Base, Del. According to the Department of Defense, Pleitez, 25, of Turlock, Calif., died July 27, 2012 in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan and Estle, 38, of Lebanon, Ohio, and Belmontes, 28, of La Verne, Calif., both died July 28, 2012 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained from enemy small arms fire. U.S. troop deaths in Afghanistan have plunged to the lowest level in four years, reflecting a pullback from direct combat into the less deadly role of advising and assisting Afghan forces as they do more of the fighting. Attacks by the Taliban insurgents also have been declining, although the war is far from finished. (AP Photo/Steve Ruark, File)