1,188 U.S. Military Deaths in Afghan War Since Obama Became President

January 3, 2012 - 4:44 PM

(CNSNews.com) -- There have been 1,188 U.S. military deaths in the Afghan war since Barack Obama was sworn in as president on Jan. 20, 2009, according to CNSNews.com’s database tally of casualties.

That is a 208 percent increase from the 569 deaths that occurred in the war during the two terms of President George W. Bush.

At the end of 2011 the total U.S. fatalities in the Afghan war was 1,757. Prior to Obama's inauguration, between 2001 and 2008, there were 569 deaths. Since Obama's inauguration there have been 1,188 deaths in the war.

That means 67.6 percent of the total U.S. military deaths in the Afghan war have occurred under the Obama administration (1,188 out of 1,757).  (See chart: 2011deaths.pdf)

The Afghan war was launched on Oct. 7, 2001 with the goal of eliminating al Qaeda and removing the Taliban regime.

Obama has presided over the top three deadliest years of the war: 2009 (303 deaths); 2010 (497 deaths); and 2011 (399). Under Bush, fatalities peaked at 151 for the year 2008.

There was a drop in fatal casualties during 2011 from those that occurred in 2010, the deadliest year of the war.

The estimated 399 U.S. deaths in Afghanistan that occurred last year marked an estimated 20 percent drop from the 497 that occurred in 2010, making 2011 the second deadliest year of the war. Last year was the first time since 2006 that there was a decline in deaths. U.S. military fatalities have only dropped twice from one year to another – in 2006 and 2011.

The month of December, with 15 deaths, was the least deadly in 2011.

August 2011, with 71 deaths, was the deadliest month of the entire war.

Obama in Afghanistan

President Barack Obama reviews the honor guard with Afghan President Hamid Karzai at the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan on Sunday, March 28, 2010. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Improvised explosive devices (IEDs), known as homemade bombs, continue to be the number one killer of U.S. forces. The southern provinces of Helmand and Kandahar, where most of the military action has been concentrated, continue to be the deadliest areas for U.S. forces.

Most of the U.S. military deaths during the course of the war have been combat-related. For the total 1,757 fatalities during the war, 1,542 (about 88 percent) have been combat-related.

The remaining non-combat deaths refer to those that occurred as a result of accidents, illnesses, drowning, or other non-combat incidents.

CNSNews.com’s detailed count of U.S. military fatalities in Afghanistan is calculated 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. (See chart: 2011deaths.pdf)

The database includes all U.S. troops that died or were fatally injured in and around Afghanistan while supporting military efforts against insurgents under Operation Enduring Freedom, which covers multiple countries.

CNSNews.com’s total count of U.S. fatalities in and around Afghanistan includes 12 U.S. troops who died in Pakistan and three who died in the Arabian Sea while supporting combat operations in Afghanistan. The total death count of 1,757 for the end of 2011 could be slightly revised in the coming days, given the lag time in Defense Department reporting.

President Obama announced in December 2009 that he was temporarily increasing the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan by 30,000 troops. In June 2011, the president announced that 10,000 troops would be out of Afghanistan by the end of 2011 and another 23,000 would be withdrawn by September 2012. That would leave around 60,000 soldiers in Afghanistan.

Afghan forces are expected to take over the lead of their own security by the end of 2014. U.S. military officials have indicated there will be an American military presence beyond that date, but the size of that potential force has not yet been disclosed.