(CNSNews.com) – At least 25 U.S. soldiers died in Afghanistan last month, according to CNSNews.com’s tally.
As of Feb. 2, an overall 1,383 American military deaths had been reported in and around Afghanistan since the U.S.-led war started more than nine years ago.
The 25 deaths in January are five fewer than the 30 recorded during the same period in 2010, which was the deadliest year of the war for American troops.
Approximately 500 U.S. soldiers died in Afghanistan last year, which is about 40 percent more than the estimated 300 who died in 2009.
The majority of American military deaths in Afghanistan have occurred since Obama was inaugurated on Feb. 20, 2009. At least 813 U.S. soldiers have died since Obama’s inauguration, which is almost 60 percent of the total 1,383 deaths since the war began in October 2001.
Put another way, approximately one American soldier has died in Afghanistan each day since Obama officially became president. It also means that more U.S. troops have died in Afghanistan during the first two years of the Obama presidency than in the prior seven years of war.
Of the 25 U.S. deaths in January 2011, 21 were combat-related. The remaining four non-combat fatalities included a woman found dead in the Arabian Sea after being reported missing from a U.S. ship.
CNSNews.com’s database of U.S. military fatalities in Afghanistan is derived from Department of Defense (DOD) press releases and various media accounts.
The database includes American troops who died in and around Afghanistan while supporting military efforts against terrorism under Operation Enduring Freedom, which involves multiple countries. 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.
The American military death toll for January 2011 could be greater than 25, given the Defense Department’s lag in reporting U.S. casualties in Afghanistan.
Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) continue to be the number-one killer of U.S. forces.
At least 16 (76 percent) of the 21 combat-related deaths last month were caused by IEDs. That number might be higher, given that some military branches do not report the full circumstances surrounding a soldier’s death.
For two of the combat deaths in January, the DOD simply stated that the soldiers died while supporting combat operations in southern Afghanistan.
Provinces along the Afghan-Pakistan border continue to be the deadliest for U.S. forces. At least 14 of the 25 U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan during January took place in five of the 11 provinces along the Afghan-Pakistan border.
The majority of those 14 deaths occurred in the southern Afghan provinces of Helmand and Kandahar, which is where U.S.-led military efforts are focused.
More than 80 percent of the approximately 500 American military deaths in 2010 occurred along the Afghan-Pakistan border, CNSNews.com previously reported.
In his recent State of the Union address, President Obama maintained that U.S. troops will begin withdrawing from Afghanistan in July 2011. The president has endorsed a goal of having Afghan forces take charge of their own security by the end of 2014.
Administration and military officials have said that a long-lasting relationship will remain between the U.S. and Afghanistan beyond that point.