Share This Page

U.S. troop deaths decline sharply in Afghanistan

| Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012, 9:22 p.m.

CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan — The number of U.S. deaths in Afghanistan is on track to decline sharply this year, reflecting the drawdown and an expanded Afghan army that is playing a larger role in fighting the Taliban.

This year, 301 Americans have died in Afghanistan, down from a peak of 500 American deaths in 2010, a USA Today database shows. It is the second consecutive yearly drop.

“A year ago, we were taking larger amounts of casualties than they were,” said Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Charles “Mark” Gurganus, referring to Afghan security forces in the former Taliban stronghold of Helmand region in southern Afghanistan.

“It is absolutely 180 (degrees) out now,” said Gurganus, head of Regional Command Southwest.

The Afghan Defense Ministry estimates that the Afghan military and police have more than 300 deaths per month. About 80 percent of the operations are led and planned by Afghan forces, the coalition command says.

The Afghan security force has grown to about 350,000. The number of U.S. forces has declined to about 68,000 from a peak of nearly 100,000.

“They are really taking the fight now, and we are stepping back,” said German Air Force Brig. Gen. Günter Katz, the top coalition spokesman.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.