US toll in Afghanistan hits 2,000
Updated: 2012-10-01 01:22
US military deaths in the Afghan war have reached 2,000, a cold reminder of the human cost of an 11-year-old conflict that garners little public interest at home as the United States prepares to withdraw most of its combat forces by the end of 2014.
The toll has climbed steadily in recent months with a spate of attacks by Afghan army and police against American and NATO troops, and questions about whether allied countries will achieve their aim of helping the Afghan government and its forces stand on their own after most foreign troops depart in little more than two years.
A US official confirmed the latest death on Sunday, saying that an international service member killed in an apparent insider attack by Afghan forces in the east of the country late on Saturday was American. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the nationality of those killed had not been formally released.
A civilian contractor with NATO and at least two Afghan soldiers also died in the attack, according to a coalition statement and Afghan provincial officials. The nationality of the civilian was not disclosed.
At least 1,190 more coalition troops have also died in the Afghanistan war, according to iCasualties.org, an independent organization.
According to an index kept by the Brookings Institution, 40.2 percent of the deaths were caused by improvised explosive devices, most of those after 2009 when US President Barack Obama ordered a surge of 33,000 troops to combat heightened Taliban activity. According to the Washington-based research center, the second highest cause, 30.6 percent, was hostile fire
Tracking civilian deaths is much more difficult. According to the UN, 13,431 civilians were killed in the Afghan conflict between 2007, when the UN began keeping statistics, and the end of August. Going back to the US-led invasion in 2001, most estimates put the number of Afghan deaths in the war at more than 20,000.