2010 Already Deadliest Year for U.S. in Nine-Year Afghan War

August 31, 2010 - 6:27 PM
The 320 U.S. military fatalities in Afghanistan reported so far this year have reached a grim milestone as 2010, with four months left until the end of the year, is already the deadliest year for American soldiers since the war started approximately nine years ago.
U.S. soldiers AFghanistan

U.S. soldiers on patrol in the volatile Arghandab Valley, Kandahar, Afghanistan, on Monday, July 26, 2010. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

(CNSNews.com) -- 2010 has already become the deadliest year for U.S. troop in the nine-year-long war in Afghanistan.

The U.S. has suffered 320 military fatalities in Afghanistan since Jan. 1, 2010, exceeding the 303 suffered in 2009, which until now had been the deadliest year for American troops in Afghanistan since the U.S.-led invasion started in October 2001.
 
This August, with at least 54 U.S. fatalities, has been the deadliest August of the war. July of this year, with 66 U.S. casualties, was the single deadliest month of the war.
 
The majority of all American deaths in the war in Afghanistan have occurred under Obama’s watch, according to a CNSNews.com database of Afghanistan war casualties. 612 U.S. soldiers have died since Obama was inaugurated on Jan. 20, 2009, or about 52 percent of the overall 1,181 fatalities (which includes both combat-related casualties and non-combat fatalities).
 
On average, more than one soldier has died per day since Obama officially became president.  

President Barack Obama greets members of the military at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2010. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Most of the deaths in August and throughout the war have taken place in the Taliban-strongholds located in the provinces of Kandahar and Helmand, where U.S.-led military operations are concentrated.  
 
Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) continue to be the number one killer of U.S. troops.
 
Among the 300 combat-related deaths this year, at least 163 were caused by IEDs. (The total number of deaths caused by IEDs could be even greater given that the Department of Defense does not always report the weaponry responsible for a combat casualty.)  
 
CNSNews.com has been unable to determine the cause of death for 35 casualties so far this year.
 
At least 515 soldiers have been killed by IEDs during the entire course of the war. That is almost 50 percent of the 1,017 total combat-related casualties. There have been 46 fatalities in the war so far for which the cause of death was not available.
 
Combat-related deaths include those killed in action and those who died as a result of wounds incurred during combat. That number excludes deaths as a result of drowning and transportation accidents, which CNSNews.com designates as non-combat related deaths.
 
CNSNews.com’s casualty count is derived primarily from U.S. Defense Department and NATO casualty reports, but it also includes information gleaned from news media outlets. 
Petraeus

In this July 19, 2010, file photo U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus, who took charge of U.S. and NATO military operations in Afghanistan in July, waits to greet U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at Kabul International Airport, Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Paul J. Richards, Pool)

The count includes all U.S. military personnel who died or received fatal wounds in Afghanistan or Pakistan. It does not include U.S. soldiers who died outside of those two countries while supporting military efforts against terrorism under Operation Enduring Freedom, which includes multiple countries. 
 
President Obama and Gen. David Petraeus, the top-commander of U.S.-led NATO forces in Afghanistan, on numerous occasions have said that depending on ground conditions, U.S. troops will begin to withdraw from Afghanistan in July 2011, a date that they said would mark the beginning of a responsible transition of tasks to the Afghan government and its national security force.