1,089 Americans--71% of All U.S. Combat Deaths in Afghanistan--Have Been Killed Along Pakistan Border

December 1, 2011 - 11:29 AM
U.S. soldier casket

The body of California Army National Guard soldier Sean Walsh arrives at Moffett Federal Airfield, in Mountain View, Calif., on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011. Walsh, 21, died Nov. 16 during a combat operation in Afghanistan's Khost Province. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

(CNSNews.com) – Over more than ten years of fighting in Afghanistan, 71 percent of U.S. military combat deaths in that country have taken place in provinces bordering Pakistan.

CNSNews.com’s detailed database of U.S. casulaties in the Afghan war indicates that as of Nov. 30, a total of 1,527 U.S. troops have died while engaged in combat in Afghanistan--1,089 of them in 10 Afghan provinces that border Pakistan. The other 438 U.S. combat deaths happened elsewhere in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan has a total of 34 provinces.

Including non-combat deaths, the total U.S. casualty count in Afghanistan’s border provinces was 1,168 as of Nov. 30. (That number may be larger, since the locations of 68 fatalities were not reported by the U.S. government, which is the primary source for CNSNews.com’s casualty count.)

As the U.S. casualty count grows along the Pakistani border, Pakistan erupted furiously last weekend after a NATO air strike on Saturday killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. The NATO attack was called in by a joint U.S.-Afghan patrol that came under fire in Afghanistan’s Paktia province.

Paktia is one of the eleven Afghan provinces that lie along the 1,500-mile border with Pakistan. The others are Nuristan, Konar, Nangarhar, Khost, Paktika, Zabul, Kandahar, Helmand, Nimruz, and Badakhshan. Badakshan is the only Afghan province along the Pakistan border that has seen no U.S. casualties since the war started on October 7, 2001.

In addition to the 1,527 combat casualties U.S. forces have suffered in the Afghan war another 214 U.S. military personnel have died through other means, including non-combat-related accidents, while serving in that war.

CNSNews.com’s count of 1,741 total U.S. fatalities in the Afghan war includes 12 U.S. troops who died in Pakistan and three who died in ships on the Arabian Sea while supporting combat operations in Afghanistan. Those who died in Pakistan are not included in the tally of the 1,168 U.S. military troops who died in Afghan provinces along the Afghan-Pakistan border.

The overall death toll of 1,741 as of Nov. 30 could be revised, given the lag time in Defense Department reporting of casualties.

Since President Obama took office on January 20, 2009, there have been at least 1,172 U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan. That means that about 67 percent of the total of 1,741 U.S. casualties in the ten-year-long Afghan war have occurred on Obama’s watch.

U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan have more than tripled under the current administration, climbing to the current total of 1,741 from a total of 569 when President George W. Bush left office on Jan. 20, 2009.

CNSNews.com’s detailed count of U.S. military fatalities in Afghanistan is derived from official casualty reports issued by the Department of Defense and the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force-Afghanistan, 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 insurgents under Operation Enduring Freedom, which covers multiple countries.

In September, during his last congressional testimony before retiring, then-Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen accused Pakistan of “exporting violence” to Afghanistan.

“We simply cannot allow…terrorists to be able to go into Afghanistan, attack our forces, and then return to Pakistan for safe haven and not face any kind of pressure from the Pakistanis for that to stop,” added Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who testified along with Mullen