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American Military Fatalities Double in Afghanistan

Thursday, 31 December 2009 12:02 PM

KABUL - American military fatalities in Afghanistan doubled in 2009 compared with the previous year, and U.S. officials and analysts acknowledge that the new year is likely to prove even more lethal.

The planned U.S. troop buildup, coupled with ever-deadlier tactics adopted by the Taliban and other insurgent groups, is expected to result in at least a temporary spike in deaths and injuries among the nearly 70,000 American troops serving here and the additional 30,000 due to arrive in 2010.

Heading into a ninth year of warfare in Afghanistan, military casualties settled into near-lock step with the passing of each day -- a firefight here, a suicide bombing there. The most violent parts of the country -- the south, the east -- remained so, but some previously quiet corners also descended into carnage.

In 2008, 155 U.S. service members died in Afghanistan. As 2009 drew to a close, the year's tally stood at 319, according to the independent website icasualties.org, which tracks troop fatalities in Afghanistan and Iraq. That tally did not include eight American intelligence officers killed in an audacious insurgent strike Wednesday on their base in eastern Afghanistan. It was the CIA's biggest one-day loss since the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut.

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Thursday, 31 December 2009 12:02 PM
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