One-Third of All U.S. Military Deaths in 9-Year Afghanistan War Happened in 2010

By Edwin Mora | November 2, 2010 | 9:11 AM EDT

U.S. Marines receive the remains of Lance Cpl. Ralph J. Fabbri on Thursday, Sept. 30, 2010 at Dover Air Force Base, Del. during a rainstorm. According to the Department of Defense, Fabbri, 20, of Gallitzin, Pa., died Sept. 28 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Steve Ruark)

( – One-third of the total 1,259 U.S. military deaths reported since the beginning of the nine-year Afghan war have taken place this year, with two months still to go, according to’s database of war casualties.

As of Nov. 1, 1,259 U.S. military fatalities have been reported since the Afghanistan war began in October 2001, of which 407 (32.2 percent) happened this year.

At least 699, or more than 55 percent, of all the American fatalities in Afghanistan have taken place since President Obama was inaugurated on January 20, 2009.

In November, at least 49 U.S. soldiers were killed in Afghanistan, exceeding the 42 who died in September.

This year already is the deadliest for American forces in Afghanistan. The 407 deaths so far this year amount to about 25 percent more than the 303 that occurred in 2009, the second deadliest year for U.S. forces.

Nevertheless, there were fewer deaths during October 2010 than in the same period last year. In October 2009, 58 American soldiers were killed, making it the deadliest month for U.S. troops that year.

Most American soldiers killed in 2010 and throughout the war have died in combat. There have been about 390 combat-related deaths so far this year (out of the total 407) and 1,108 combat-related deaths (of the total 1,259) throughout the war.

Historically, most of the heavy fighting takes place during the Afghanistan summer months of June to September. However, in both 2009 and 2010, the month of October has been one of the deadliest.

Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) continue to be the number one killer of U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan. The southern Afghanistan provinces of Kandahar and Helmand, two Taliban strongholds that border Pakistan, continue to be the deadliest regions for American troops and their counterparts in the region.

U.S.-led forces are now trying to remove the Taliban from its stronghold in Kandahar.  NATO forces also continue to fight terrorists in Helmand under a military “surge” that began earlier this year. There are still areas in Helmand that still remain under Taliban control.

Taking control of Kandahar and Helmand is considered essential for victory in Afghanistan’s U.S. military fatality count is derived primarily from U.S. Defense Department press releases, but it also includes information gleaned from news media outlets.
The count includes all U.S. military personnel who died or received fatal wounds in Afghanistan. It does not include U.S. soldiers who died outside of that country while supporting military efforts against terrorism under Operation Enduring Freedom, which includes multiple countries. 

Non-combat fatalities include soldiers who have drowned or died from vehicle or other accidents.

The top five deadliest months of the war, accounting for both combat and non-combat deaths, have taken place during Obama's term. Those five months were:
1. July 2010 (65 deaths)
2. June 2010 (60 deaths)
3. October 2009 (58 deaths)
4. August 2010 (55 deaths)
5. August 2009 (51 deaths)

Last December Obama said that depending on ground conditions, U.S. troops would begin withdrawing from Afghanistan in July 2011, which is less than a year away.

However, as has previously reported, NATO military officials have indicated that U.S.-led forces may be in Afghanistan for a few years more.

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