Posts Tagged ‘afghanistan war’

US deaths in Afghanistan hit record in 2010

September 1, 2010 Leave a comment

In all, 1,270 US troops have lost their lives since the conflict began with the US-led invasion of Afghanistan following the September 11 attacks on the United States in 2001.

KABUL: The number of US soldiers killed in the Afghan war in 2010 is the highest annual toll since the conflict began almost nine years ago, according to an AFP count Wednesday.

A total of 323 US soldiers have been killed in the Afghan war this year, compared to 317 for all of 2009, according to a count by AFP based on the independent website.

Foreign forces suffered a grim spike in deaths last month as the Taliban insurgency intensified, with Nato confirming on Wednesday that a sixth US soldier was killed on one of the bloodiest days this year.

At 490, the overall death toll for foreign troops for the first eight months of the year is rapidly closing in the number registered in all of 2009, which at 521 was a record since the start of the war in late 2001.

A total of 80 international soldiers died in the Afghan war last month, 56 of them Americans.

In all, 1,270 US troops have lost their lives since the conflict began with the US-led invasion of Afghanistan following the September 11 attacks on the United States in 2001.

US President Barack Obama on Tuesday warned that the United States faced a “very tough fight” in Afghanistan, with more casualties and “heartbreak” to come.

“We obviously still have a very tough fight in Afghanistan,” Obama told troops in Texas as the United States marked the formal end of combat operations in Iraq.

“We have seen casualties go up because we are taking the fight to Al-Qaeda and the Taliban,” Obama said. “It is going to be a tough slog.”

Nato’s International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) confirmed that a sixth US soldier died on Tuesday, killed in an insurgent attack in the south of the country.

This followed the previously announced deaths on Tuesday of another five US soldiers, four of them killed in a roadside bomb attack.

Twenty-five Americans have died since Friday.

Military leaders say the spike in deaths reflects the injection of additional troops into the Afghan theatre, which leads to a higher number of battlefield engagements with Taliban-led insurgents.

US General David Petraeus, the commander of US and Nato forces in Afghanistan, said Tuesday that deployments would reach their full strength of 150,000 within days.

On Monday, eight Nato troops — seven Americans and an Estonian — were killed in bomb attacks in southern Afghanistan. is constantly updating its figures as soldiers wounded in battle die of their injuries after they have been evacuated from Afghanistan, sometimes days or weeks later.

Drone Strikes Continue To Fuel Anti-US Sentiment In Pakistan

Drone Strikes Continue To Fuel Anti-US Sentiment In Pakistan

Jason Ditz

US Claims Massive ‘Militant’ Deaths and Almost No Civilian Casualties

The CIA’s drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas, something which has become an enormous issue over the past year and a half, have been an enormous source of controversy, both legal and practical.

The US, for its part, maintains that the drone strikes have caused no more than 30 civilian casualties, while killing over 500 militants. The claims seem common among US officials, in keeping with the narrative of precision drone strikes.

But they are tough to swallow for children killed and maimed in the almost constant bombardment. And for villagers the claims that friends and relatives are “suspected militants” are tough to reconcile with reality, as are the claims of US precision.

They also don’t jibe with figures from Pakistan’s own intelligence agencies, which estimate that the US actually killed 700 civilians in 2009 alone, while killing only a handful of confirmed militants. The number of civilians wounded in all these attacks is unknown, but significant.

It is unsurprising, then, that the strikes continue to inflame anti-US sentiment across Pakistan, and US claims that the victims are almost universally “militants” is likely only making matters worse, in the face of enormous evidence to the contrary.

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United States sidelines India

April 17, 2010 Leave a comment

The Manmohan Singh government had been extremely euphoric about its special strategic relationship with the United States especially after the signing of an exceptional bilateral nuclear deal for peaceful energy purposes. The government of India had come to believe that President Barack Obama would continue the special treatment which India had received from George Bush II. But the bubble burst and Indian foreign policymakers received a great shock when President Obama drastically shifted his South Asian strategic concerns by focusing attention on the positive role of Pakistan in the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan.

President Obama has revived the history of the last 60 years and re-established special relationship with Pakistan, a country which always stood for the US during the Cold War period and is now fighting as a military ally against the Taliban. Obama has recognised the significance of Pakistan as a dependable military ally. Also, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton articulated a policy shift towards Pakistan in her high-profile meeting with Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on March 25 and 26 at the US-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue meet held in Washington. She observed: “Pakistan is close to my heart, Pakistan’s struggles are my struggles and I am committed to the success of this dialogue.”

Ms Clinton opened the US coffers and military arsenal to prompt Pakistan to aid the US’ war in Afghanistan. The US has clearly stated that “we have a war and we need them (Pakistan)”. It has been decided that the US will supply arms to Pakistan. The US arming of Pakistan has always been of great concern to India because in the inimitable description of the late V K Krishna Menon “there is no gun or a tank which can fire only on one side” as decided by the donor of military aid.

The strategic importance of Pakistan in the war in Afghanistan has been publicly recognised by the US by inviting the man in uniform, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, as an important member of the delegation led by the Pakistan foreign minister for the strategic dialogue. General Kayani’s presence in the US along with the Pakistani delegation gives a clear signal to South Asian governments that Pakistan is a military ally of the US and it is the army which matters in Pakistan.

President Obama by publicly aligning with the Pakistan army is clearly following a tradition of his predecessors who had patronised army dictators like Ayub Khan, Yahya Khan, Zia-ul-Haq and Pervez Musharraf. Also, the Americans know that in a farcical democracy comprising Asif Ali Zardari of PPP and Nawaz Sharif of PML-N, General Kayani is the real centre of power. If the US needs Pakistan’s assistance in the war against Taliban, the Pakistanis are also keen to extract their pound of flesh from the US.

There has to be a quid pro quo between the US and Pakistan if the Americans expect Pakistan to act as their proxy in war. It should be noted that Taliban or Al-Queda in Afghanistan are not the enemies of Pakistan. Pakistan has its own strategic agenda and in the pursuit of its own national interests in Afghanistan, Pakistan cannot accept the presence of Indians on Afghan soil. Has the US assured Pakistan that it would restrain India from its active engagement in Afghanistan?–Analysis/articleshow/5824050.cms