(CNSNews.com) – Fifty-five U.S. servicemen were killed in Afghanistan in 2014, bringing the total number of American fatalities in the 13-year war to 2,232, according to a CNSNews.com database.
Of those 2,232 deaths, 1,663 – 74.5 percent – occurred since President Obama took office on Jan. 20, 2009. The deadliest years for U.S. personnel were 2010, when 495 were killed; 2011, when there were 404 casualties; and 2009 when the death toll was 306.
Those three years combined accounted for more than half, or 54 percent, of the total U.S. casualties in the war.
In 2014, 42 fatalities (76.4 percent) were combat related, attributed to small arms fire, improvised explosive devices (IEDs), or rocket-propelled grenades. The other 13 deaths were due to accidents, illnesses, or heart attacks.
On December 28, 2014 Obama released a statement announcing the end of the combat mission in Afghanistan, yet more than 10,000 U.S. troops remain in Afghanistan.
“The end of 2014 officially concluded Operation Enduring Freedom as our Afghan partners assumed responsibility for the security of their country,” said Marine Major Brad Avots at the Department of Defense.
“In 2015, we begin our follow-on mission, Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, to help secure and build upon the hard-fought gains of the last 13 years. First, the U.S. will work with our NATO allies as part of NATO’s non-combat Resolute Support mission to continue training, advising and assisting the ANSF [Afghan National Security Forces].”
“Second, the U.S. will conduct a separate CT [counter-terrorism] mission against remnants of al-Qaeda to ensure Afghanistan will never again be used to stage attacks against the U.S. and her allies,” Avots said.
“Currently, we have approximately, 10,600 service members in Afghanistan. By the end of 2015, we will reduce our troop presence by roughly half and consolidate our forces in Kabul and Bagram. By the end of 2016, our military will draw down to a Kabul-based security assistance presence.”
(Last May Obama announced that 9,800 U.S. troops would remain from the beginning of 2015, reduced to half that number by a year later, and that by the end of 2016 all will be gone apart from an embassy security component. Last month Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the number of U.S. forces due to remain in Afghanistan after Dec. 31 not be the previously-announced 9,800, but 10,800.)
In his Dec. 28 statement Obama said that “Afghanistan remains a dangerous place, and the Afghan people and their security forces continue to make tremendous sacrifices in defense of their country.”
“At the invitation of the Afghan government, and to preserve the gains we have made together, the United States – along with our allies and partners – will maintain a limited military presence in Afghanistan to train, advise and assist Afghan forces to conduct counterterrorism operations against the remnants of al-Qaeda,” he said.
“Our personnel will continue to face risks, but this reflects the enduring commitment of the United States to the Afghan people and to a united, secure and sovereign Afghanistan that is never again used as a source of attacks against our nation.”