70% of U.S. Military Fatalities in 11-Year Afghan War Have Occurred on Obama's Watch

July 2, 2012 - 3:22 PM

Barack Obama

President Barack Obama at Pittsburgh International Airport on June 24, 2011. (Official White House photo/Pete Souza)

(CNSNews.com) - Of the 1,912 U.S. military personnel who have died in the now nearly 11-year-long war in Afghanistan, 1,343 have died since President Barack Obama was inaugurated on Jan. 20, 2009.

Seventy percent of the Afghan War casualties have happened on Obama's watch.

The war in Afghanistan started on Oct. 7, 2001, when the United States invaded that country to track down al Qaeda terrorists and overthrow the Taliban regime that had provided sanctuary to al Qaeda in the years before the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

So far this year, 155 U.S. military personnel have died in Afghanistan. That is about 22 percent less than the 198 U.S. military personnel who were killed in Afghanistan from January to June last year. May was the deadliest month so far in 2012 with 40 deaths. It was also deadliest May of the war.

The three years of the Obama have been the three deadliest for U.S. forces in Afghanistan. In 2009, 303 U.S. service members perished there. In 2010, 497 did. In 2011, 399 U.S. military personnel died in Afghanistan.

Obama has also presided over the top five deadliest months of the war, which include: August 2011, when there were 71 deaths; July 2010, when there were 65 deaths; June 2010, when there were 60 deaths; October 2009, when there were 58 deaths; and August 2010, when there were 55 deaths.

Improvised explosive devices (IEDs), also known as homemade bombs, continue to be the number one killer of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, accounting for death of about half of the U.S. military personnel who have died inthe war.

American fatalities have been concentrated in the southern Afghan provinces of Helmand and Kandahar. These two provinces, which border Pakistan, have been the focus of most U.S.-led military activity during the conflict.

That activity is now extending to eastern Afghanistan, which also borders Pakistan.

In all, about 80 percent of all U.S. military casualties have taken place in Afghan provinces that border Pakistan.

The majority of the U.S. military personnel who have died inthe Afghan War have died due to combat-related injuries. Non-combat related deaths are those caused by accidents, illnesses, drowning, or other non-combat incidents in and around Afghanistan.

By the end of 2014, the U.S.-led coalition forces are expected to transfer the lead in security responsibilities to the Afghan National Security Forces.

President Obama has agreed that some U.S. forces will remain in Afghanistan beyond 2014 to support training and counterterrorism operations led by the Afghan forces. The scope of the U.S. force that will stay behind has not been decided yet.

Historically, the Afghan summer months of June to September are when most of the heavy fighting and thus most of the U.S. military casualties take place. Those months are known as the “fighting season.”

On June 20, David Sedney, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Central Asia, told the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations that the 2012 fighting season “will be the most significant challenge for the Afghan security forces, as they are more in the lead than ever before.”

CNSNews.com’s detailed database of U.S. military fatalities in Afghanistan is derived from official Department of Defense (DOD) casualty reports enhanced by information taken from the U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and media accounts.

The CNSNews.com count of U.S. military fatalities in the Afghan War includes all U.S. military personnel who died or were fatally injured in Afghanistan itself, plus four who died on ships at sea supporting operations in Afghanistan, plus 12 who died in Pakistan.  It does not count military personnel who have died while participating in Operation Enduring Freedom in other regions of the world, where they were not supporting military operations in Afghanistan.

The overall Operation Enduring Freedom has covered U.S.-led military activity in 15 countries in addition to Afghanistan.

American military deaths under the overall Operation Enduring Freedom marked a grim milestone in June as they surpassed 2,000. There have been at least 114 American fatalities in locations other than Afghanistan since the operation started in 2001.

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