An American service member died Friday when his vehicle struck a bomb in eastern Afghanistan, making August the deadliest month for U.S. forces in the nearly eight-year war.
The grim milestone comes as the top U.S. commander prepares to submit his assessment of the conflict — a report expected to trigger intense debate on the Obama administration's strategy in an increasingly unpopular war. ...
That brought to 45 the number of U.S. service members killed this month in the Afghan war — one more than the previous monthly record, set in July.
American casualties have been rising steadily following President Barack Obama's decision to send 21,000 additional troops to Afghanistan to combat a resurgent Taliban and train Afghan security forces to assume a greater role in battling the insurgents.
Obama's decision was part of a strategic shift in the U.S. war against international Islamic extremism — moving resources from Iraq, which had been center stage since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion but where violence has declined sharply from levels of two years ago.
A record 62,000 U.S. troops are now in the country, with 4,000 more due before year's end. That compares with about 130,000 in Iraq, most due to leave next year.
Since the fresh troops began arriving in Afghanistan last spring, U.S. deaths have climbed steadily — from 12 in May to more than 40 for the past two months as American forces have taken the fight to the Taliban in areas of the country which have long been under insurgent control.At least 732 U.S. service members have died in the Afghan war since the U.S.-led invasion of late 2001. Nearly 60 percent of those deaths occurred since the Taliban insurgency began to rebound in 2007.
August 29, 2009
From the AP: