19 U.S. Troops Were Killed in Afghanistan in February; Casualty Rate is Declining From Last Year

March 2, 2011 - 6:32 PM

US soldiers in Afghanistan

U.S. soldiers on patrol pass the wreckage of a car after an explosion in the Arghandab district of Kandahar province, Afghanistan, Sunday, Feb. 27, 2011. (AP Photo/Allauddin Khan)

(CNSNews.com) – Nineteen U.S. troops were killed in Afghanistan during February, according to CNSNews.com's database of casualties in the Afghan war, bringing the total number of U.S. fatalities since that conflict started in October 2001 to 1,402. Of the 19 deaths, 15 were combat-related.

The toll brings to 44 the number of U.S. troops reported killed in Afghanistan so far this year. 36 of these casualties were combat-related.

By this time in 2010 there had been 62 American deaths (59 combat-related) reported, 18 more than during the same period this year. Last year was the deadliest of the war for the U.S. military.

February’s toll may increase since the Defense Department sometimes reports casualties in Afghanistan several days after they occur.

In the nine-plus years of the war in Afghanistan, approximately 87 percent of the U.S. deaths--1,220 out of 1,402--have been the result of enemy action.

At least 832 (59 percent) of the overall number of deaths have taken place since President Obama’s Jan. 2009 inauguration. More U.S. troops died in Afghanistan during the first two years of the Obama presidency than in the previous seven years of war.

CNSNews.com’s database of U.S. military fatalities in Afghanistan is derived from Department of Defense (DOD) releases and various media accounts.

The database includes American troops who died in and around Afghanistan while supporting military efforts against terrorism under Operation Enduring Freedom, launched to topple the Taliban regime and pursue al Qaeda after al Qaeda used Afghanistan as a base a base for the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States.

More than 40 troop-contributing countries are involved in the campaign under NATO’s International Security Assistance Force, commanded by U.S. Army General David Petraeus.

In addition to those who died in Afghanistan, CNSNews.com’s database includes some Americans who died in Pakistan and others who died in the Arabian Sea while supporting operations in Afghanistan.

Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), also known as homemade bombs, remain the number one killer of coalition forces in Afghanistan.

The southern Afghan provinces of Helmand and Kandahar, both of which border Pakistan, are the deadliest regions for U.S.-led coalition forces. More than 80 percent of the approximately 500 U.S. military deaths last year took place on the Afghan-Pakistan border.

The Obama administration has said that U.S. forces will begin withdrawing from Afghanistan in July 2011 in a gradual process that will last through the end of 2014.

A U.S. commander in charge of the training mission in Afghanistan told CNSNews.com last November that Afghan forces are expected to be in the lead by the end of 2014, but not independent of U.S. forces.