2011 On Pace To Be Deadliest Year So Far for U.S. Troops in Afghanistan

By Edwin Mora | May 3, 2011 | 2:27 PM EDT

President Barack Obama reviews the honor guard with Afghan President Hamid Karzai at the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan on Sunday, March 28, 2010. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

(CNSNews.com) – The months leading up to the U.S. military’s daring and successful raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan were also the deadliest winter and early spring months for U.S. forces in Afghanistan since the beginning of the war in that country.

With 46 U.S. military personnel killed in Afghanistan in April, U.S. military fatalities in that country are currently on a pace to make 2011 the deadliest year of the war.

However, as of now, Presdent Barack Obama is expected to begin drawing down the number of U.S. troops deployed in the country in July.

Up until this year, January-April 2010 (with 106 U.S. military fatalities) was the deadliest January-April period in the now almost-10-year-long war. 2010 went on to become the deadliest year for U.S. forces in Afghanistan with a total of 497 U.S. troops killed during the year.

In January-April 2011, however, 117 U.S. military personal were killed in Afghanistan—11 more than during the same period last year.

From the outset of the war in October 2001 through April 2011, 1,475 U.S. troops have been killed in Afghanistan.

At least 905 of these troops have been killed in Afghanistan since President Barack Obama was inaugurated on Jan. 20, 2009. That equals more than 60 percent of the 1,475 total -- and more than one U.S. soldier per day.

Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDS) continue to be the number one killer of U.S. forces and the Afghan provinces bordering Pakistan remain the deadliest regions for those troops.

Historically, the deadliest fighting season in Afghanistan has begun at the end of April. The Afghan summer months of June to September tend to be deadliest.

CNSNews.com’s database of U.S. military fatalities in Afghanistan is derived from Department of Defense (DOD) news releases and various media accounts.

A U.S. Marine Corps sergeant in action in Sangin, Afghanistan on Nov. 9, 2010. (Defense Department photo/Lance Cpl. Dexter S. Saulisbury, U.S. Marine Corps)

The database includes American troops who died in and around Afghanistan while supporting military efforts against terrorism under Operation Enduring Freedom. That operation was launched on Oct. 7, 2001 to topple the Taliban regime and pursue al Qaeda after it used Afghanistan as a base for the 9/11 terrorist attacks against the United States.

In addition to those who died in Afghanistan, CNSNews.com’s database includes some Americans who died in Pakistan and others who died in the Arabian Sea while supporting operations in Afghanistan.

President Obama escalated the war in December 2009 when he announced that he was sending 30,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan bringing the total number of U.S. forces in that country to about 100,000.

Along with that announcement, Obama said that ground-conditions permitting, U.S. troops will begin withdrawing from Afghanistan in July 2011, which U.S. Gen. David Petraeus, the top-commander in Afghanistan, indicated in March is on track to occur.

The withdrawal process is expected to carry through the end of 2014 when Afghan forces are expected to be in the lead, but not independent of U.S. forces.

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