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Jan 6th, 2011

U.S. Sending 1,400 More Troops to Afghanistan

Record number of 711 foreign troops killed in 2010, the deadliest year of the war

Afghan and foreign investigators inspect the wreckage of an Afghan National Army (ANA) bus attacked by two suicide bombers in Kabul. Five army personnel were killed and another nine were wounded. (Photo credit: Shah Marai / AFP — Getty Images)

Reuters via
Jan. 6, 2011

WASHINGTON — The United States will temporarily send 1,400 more Marines to Afghanistan in an effort to hold onto fragile security gains, but overall troop levels will not surpass previously announced limits, the Pentagon said on Thursday.

The short-term deployments were ordered by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and come months before President Barack Obama plans to start withdrawing forces in July from the unpopular war against the Taliban. …

“The Marine battalion could start arriving on the ground as early as mid-January. The forces would mostly be deployed in the south, around Kandahar, where the U.S. has concentrated troops over the past several months,” an unnamed official told the Wall Street Journal.

Violence is at its worst in Afghanistan with record casualties on all sides of the conflict and with the insurgency spreading from traditional strongholds in the south and east into once-peaceful areas in the north and west.

A review by President Barack Obama last month found U.S. and NATO forces were making headway against the Taliban and al Qaeda, but serious challenges remained. It said the Taliban’s momentum had been arrested in much of Afghanistan and reversed in some areas.

The review also said the United States was on track to begin a gradual withdrawal of its troops — now numbering about 97,000 in a total foreign force of some 150,000 — in July. The pace and scope of the drawdown remains unclear, however.

Obama ordered an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan in December 2009 and authorized the potential deployment of up to 3,000 extra forces to meet any unforeseen needs.

At the time, U.S. troop levels stood at about 68,000 and defense and military officials stressed that the new deployments of Marines were still within authorized levels of up to 101,000 U.S. forces. …

Last year was the deadliest of the war with a record 711 foreign troops killed, according to monitoring website …

Afghan security forces have been hit harder than foreign troops. A total of 1,292 Afghan police, 821 Afghan soldiers and 5,225 insurgents were killed in 2010, according to the Afghan government.

But Afghan civilians have borne the brunt of the war. The United Nations has said 2,412 civilians were killed and 3,803 wounded between January and October last year — up 20 percent from 2009.


1/7/11 Update

Bomber Kills At Least 17 in Afghan Bath House

Image: 13 civlians killed in a suicide bomb attack in Spin Boldak Afghanistan
A Pakistani man injured in a suicide bomb attack in Spin Boldak, Afghanistan, weeps after his brother’s body was brought to their home on Friday. (Photo credit: Matiullah Achakzai / EPA)

The Associated Press and Reuters
Jan. 7, 2011

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — A suicide bomber struck a bath house in a southern Afghan town as men gathered to wash up before Friday prayers, killing 17 people, a provincial official said.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, which they said targeted the deputy of an influential border patrol commander.

The attack came the same day NATO announced that three of its service members were killed in roadside bombings, underscoring the continuing threat the Taliban pose, despite a stepped-up coalition offensive.

The midday bombing killed 16 civilians and a police inspector in Spin Boldak near the Pakistani border, about 70 miles east of the provincial capital of Kandahar, said the governor’s spokesman, Zalmay Ayubi. An additional 23 people were wounded, and officials said many of them were transported to Pakistan for treatment. …

The blast reflected the continuing instability in Afghanistan, particularly in the Taliban’s traditional southern stronghold, scene of some of the fiercest fighting of a war approaching the start of its 10th year.

NATO has bolstered its forces in the south, but the insurgents have been able to stand their ground there while expanding their operations to other parts of Afghanistan once considered relatively safe. …

The latest NATO deaths raised to nine the number of coalition forces killed this year and marked a grim start to 2011 for the forces. Last year, 702 NATO service members were killed, the deadliest year for the international force in Afghanistan.

NATO, which has roughly 140,000 troops in the country, has struggled to quell the insurgency. Coalition officials estimate Taliban’s numbers at 25,000 — roughly unchanged despite the international force’s stepped-up offensive against insurgent leaders and rank-and-file fighters. The U.S. said this week it would send an additional 1,400 combat Marines to Afghanistan. …


Related reports on this site

Image: U.S. soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 10th Mountain Division
U.S. soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 10th Mountain Division, cajole an Afghan donkey to carry supplies to their mountaintop post in southern Afghanistan, in 2006. (Phot0 credit: Rodrigo Abd / AP file)

Afghanistan ‘Tom and Jerry’ War (Jan. 4, 2011)

One American Dies Every 18 Hours in Afghanistan (Jan. 1, 2011)

2010 Review of Afghanistan War (Dec. 16, 2010)

USA Surpasses USSR in Afghanistan (Nov. 29, 2010)

Afghan War Set to Drag On (Nov. 17, 2010)

Afghanistan War Cost Too High (Nov. 13, 2010)

10th Year of War in Afghanistan (Oct. 7, 2010)

Afghan War Deadlier Than Ever (July 31, 2010)


FROM THE ARCHIVES: One Year Ago — January 6, 2010

Iraq-Afghanistan Casualties

One year ago today, I provided my weekly report of U.S. military deaths in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Army Staff Sgt. Ronald J. Spino, 45, Waterbury, Conn., died Dec. 29, 2010 in Bala Morghab, Badghis province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when he was shot while unloading supplies. He was assigned to the 274th Forward Surgical Team, 44th Medical Command, Fort Bragg, N.C. – a combat nurse and paratrooper who had jumped into battle areas to treat wounded soldiers. SSG Spino returned from Iraq in February 2009 and deployed to Afghanistan in November 2009. He was due to return from Afghanistan in about 30 days when he was killed by a rogue Aghan army soldier [more information].


FROM THE ARCHIVES: Two Years Ago — January 6, 2009 (#1)

Br. Dietrich Reinhart Funeral

Two years ago today, on Jan. 6, 2009, I provided information about the Mass of Christian Burial for Br. Dietrich Reinhart, president emeritus of Saint John’s University, in the Saint John’s Abbey Church, Collegeville, Minn.

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Two Years Ago — January 6, 2009 (#2)

More Honors for Bachmann

Two years ago today, on Jan. 6, 2009, I featured year-end “honors” for U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann that couldn’t be accommodated in my Dec. 31, 2008 Minnesota 6th Congressional District Year in Review. I also reported that former U.S.-installed prime minister of Iraq, Iyad Allawi, said that despite repeated warnings U.S. officials blindly foisted a Western-style democracy on Iraq, helping plunge it into sectarian bloodshed and a political morass.

3 Responses to “Reinforcements for Afghan War”
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