Afghanistan: Record winter casualties for US-led occupying forces

By Patrick O’Connor
1 February 2010

Last month 44 US and coalition troops were killed in Afghanistan—the bloodiest month of fighting recorded in the country’s winter season since the 2001 invasion. In previous years, the freezing temperatures and snowy conditions have seen a lull in the conflict between the US and NATO led International Security Assistance Force and anti-occupation guerrillas.

In January 2009 there were 25 coalition troop deaths; in the same month in 2008 14 deaths were recorded; while in January 2007 just two soldiers died. Last month’s violence followed record annual fatalities in 2009 for the occupation forces—520, compared to 295 in 2008.

The upsurge reflects escalating opposition among ordinary Afghans toward the foreign occupation and the rule of Washington’s stooge, President Hamid Karzai. President Barack Obama’s unfolding troop “surge” has also led to more clashes. An additional 37,000 US and coalition soldiers are due to arrive in Afghanistan up to August 2010, bringing the total number to more than 150,000, not counting private contractors and mercenaries. Obama’s escalation of the war is aimed at suppressing all resistance within the Afghan population in order to shore up Washington’s control over the country and its geo-strategic interests in the oil- and gas-rich Central Asian region.

Of the 44 foreign forces killed last month, 29 were American. Others were from Britain (6), France (3), Canada, Norway, Denmark and Spain. The majority died in the provinces of Kandahar and Helmand, on the southwest border with Pakistan. According to statistics maintained by the web site icasualties.org, improvised explosive devices (IEDs) accounted for 70 percent of the deaths.

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