Wednesday 1 February 2012

Slight fall in US Afghan combat casualties in 2011

The latest US Congressional Research Service report on military and civilian casualties in Afghanistan shows that from 7 October 2001 until 18 Jan 2012 a total of 1,864 American warfighters had been killed. Of these, 1,485 had been killed as a result of hostile actions, whilst another 379 died as a result of non-hostile actions. Non-hostile casualties are defined as casualties that are not directly attributable to hostile action or terrorist activity, such as those due to the elements, self-inflicted wounds or combat fatigue. 
Total US deaths in 2011 fell by almost a fifth compared to the previous year, although the numbers of wounded in action (WIA) fell only very slightly, to 5,159. The numbers of WIA more than doubled in 2010 compared to the previous year, a fact explained by the US troop surge.
A more detailed breakdown of the figures prepared by the Defense Manpower Data Center shows that of the non-hostile deaths, 232 were due to accidents, 41 to illness, 11 due to homicide, 74 were self-inflicted, with the rest undetermined or pending. Most of those who died as a result of hostile action were serving in the army or Marines.
Figures for other countries in the Coalition show that there have been a total of 974 deaths, of which 395 were British, 158 Canadian, 78 from France, 52 from Germany and 44 from Italy. Every Coalition country has lost at least one soldier KIA.
The number of Afghan civilians, police and military killed is less clear. Figures for civilians only began to be collected in 2007. Some figures come from the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission  and Afghan Rights Monitor, whilst the CRS report now derives casualty figures of Afghan soldiers and police from the press accounts of the Reuters “Factbox: Security Developments in Afghanistan” series, the Pajhwok Afghan News agency, Daily Outlook Afghanistan from Kabul, and the AfPak Channel Daily Brief, most of which derive their figures from NATO or local Afghan officials.
Between January and November 2011, according to these figures, 2,262 Afghan civilians were killed and 3,032 were injured. In the same period 239 members of the Afghan National Army were killed (239 wounded) and 522 police (483 wounded). All these figures were lower than for the previous two years at least.

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