(CNSNews.com) - More than a third of all U.S. casualties in the now nearly nine-year-long war in Afghanistan have occurred since May 15 of last year, the day when the first major wave of President Barack Obama’s troop surge arrived in that country.
The 356 U.S. military personnel who have died in Afghanistan since May 15, 2009, according to a CNSNews.com database of Afghanistan war casualties, account for 37 percent of the total of 968 U.S. deaths recorded through May 5, 2010. Of these 968 deaths, 817 were combat-related.
So far this year, 106 U.S. troops have died in Afghanistan, more than double the 48 deaths recorded during the same period in 2009, which was the deadliest year for U.S. troops in Afghanistan since the war began there in October 2001. Of the 106 casualties in 2010, 100 have been combat-related.
Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) continue to be the number one killer of U.S. troops, causing 44 of the 100 combat-related deaths this year.
Afghanistan’s southern provinces of Helmand and Kandahar, which border Pakistan, continue to be the deadliest regions for U.S. troops. An estimated 54 U.S. military personnel have died in those two provinces this year.
CNSNews.com’s database of Afghanistan war casualties is derived primarily from official U.S. Defense Department casualty reports, but also includes information gleaned from media reports.
The database includes all U.S. military personnel who have died or suffered a fatal wound in Afghanistan or Pakistan. It does not include U.S. military personnel who have died outside of Afghanistan while supporting military efforts against terrorism under Operation Enduring Freedom.
On Feb. 17, 2009, President Obama ordered the deployment of 17,000 additional troops to Afghanistan. The main body of those troops arrived in Kandahar on May 15, 2009.
Last December, Obama stepped up his surge with 30,000 more troops, bringing the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan to more than 100,000 troops.
This summer, U.S.-led NATO forces in Afghanistan are expected to launch their biggest offensive yet, targeting Kandahar Province, a stronghold of the Taliban.