64 Percent of U.S. Military Deaths in Afghanistan Happened on Obama’s Watch

August 1, 2011 - 9:05 AM

Afghanistan

U.S. Marine Lt. Daniel Ealy, 31, of Moundsville W. Va., with the 2nd Battalion 12th Marines based in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, crosses over the 'Chuck Norris' bridge during a patrol in Kajaki, Helmand province, Afghanistan, Friday, July 29, 2011. The Marines named the bridge for its resemblance to all the bridges that get blown up in Chuck Norris action movies. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

(CNSNews.com) - At least 1,019 U.S. troops have died in and around Afghanistan since President Obama was inaugurated on January 20, 2009, according to CNSNews.com’s count, which runs through July 31, 2011.

Those 1,019 deaths represent about 64 percent of the total 1,588 deaths that have occurred since Oct. 7, 2001, when U.S. forces began fighting in Afghanistan to oust the Taliban regime that was harboring al Qaeda.  At least 32 U.S. soldiers died in Afghanistan last month.

So far this year, from January through the end of July, there have been at least 230 U.S. military deaths, 35 fewer then the tally from the same period last year.

The 497 American soldiers who died in Afghanistan in 2010 make that year the deadliest since the war started in October 2001.

The majority of American fatalities in the Afghanistan war have been combat-related. Of the 1,019 deaths under President Obama’s watch, at least 932 (about 91 percent) have been combat-related. (See chart)

In the course of the Afghanistan war, there have been at least 1,381 combat-related deaths, which is about 87 percent of the total 1,588 U.S. soldiers who have lost their lives in and around Afghanistan.  The remaining non-combat deaths occurred as a result of accidents, illnesses, drowning, or some other non-combat cause.

Improvised explosive devices continue to be the number one killer of U.S forces in Afghanistan. Almost 60 percent of all combat-related deaths this year alone were caused by IEDs.

According to military officials, about 60 percent of all military deaths in the Afghanistan war have been caused by homemade bombs. According to experts and military officials, most of the material used to make IEDs is smuggled into Afghanistan from Pakistan.

The southern Afghan provinces of Helmand and Kandahar, which borders Pakistan, continue to be the deadliest regions for U.S. forces. That is where the U.S.-led military efforts are concentrated. Kandahar is the birthplace of the Taliban.

Historically, the Afghan summer months of June to September tend to be the deadliest for coalition forces in Afghanistan.

CNSNews.com’s detailed count of U.S. military fatalities in Afghanistan is gleaned from official casualty reports issued by the Department of Defense (DOD) and 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 terrorism under Operation Enduring Freedom, which covers multiple countries.

CNSNews.com’s total count of U.S. fatalities in and around Afghanistan includes 12 Americans who died in Pakistan and three who died in the Arabian Sea while supporting combat operations in Afghanistan. The total number of U.S. soldiers who had reportedly died as of the end of July at 1,588 could be greater given that U.S. military deaths are not always reported as they occur.

In December 2009, President Obama announced that he was increasing the U.S. presence in Afghanistan by 30,000 troops. Currently, the U.S. has a force of 100,000 in the country. The president announced on June 22 that 10,000 troops would be out by the end of this year and another 23,000 by September 2012. That will leave behind about 60,000 U.S. troops, which is still double the number of troops in that country under President George W. Bush.

U.S. military officials have indicated that despite the expected reduction in forces, the U.S. will maintain a military presence in Afghanistan beyond 2014.

Gen. David Petraeus, former top commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, told lawmakers that he would be open to maintaining a jointly operated military base in Afghanistan.