During October, the US forces suffered 50 casualties in the Afghanistan War. In the first 9 days of November, there have been 19 more casualties – bringing the total amount of casualties in 2010 to 432, according to the casualty database of the Defense Department. This amount of casualties is greater than any other year of the Afghanistan War, which started in October 2001. In fact, the monthly rate of casualties in 2010 is significantly higher than any previous year. From 2001 to 2009, the average number of monthly casualties was 9. Though in 2010, the average number of monthly casualties has risen to 42. These statistics clearly indicate the Afghanistan War has become more violent in 2010.
Earlier this year, the Defense Department released a statement with 3 reasons explaining why casualties are rising. First, since the influx of 30,000 surge troops in August, the most troops to date are in the country, which increases the likelihood of US casualties. Second, the US forces are “clearing areas that have never been cleared before,” particularly in Southern and Eastern Afghanistan, where the Taliban is the strongest. Third, working with Afghanistan’s allied forces is difficult, due to problems such as illiteracy, unskilled technicians, and even the lack of a promotion system for soldiers.
Lastly, President Obama has said an impending December review of the conditions in Afghanistan will determine whether the US will begin the withdrawal of troops next July. How the President will juggle the above statistics, especially the rising casualty rate, will certainly be a major decision of his presidency.