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NATO death toll in Afghanistan drops in November

English.news.cn   2012-12-05 19:46:29            

by Farid Behbud

KABUL, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- The death toll of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan dropped considerably for the third successive month in November as the fighting season has ended in the insurgency-hit country.

In November, a total of 17 ISAF or coalition soldiers, with 16 of them Americans, have lost their lives against 52 in August when the military alliance suffered the highest casualties since January this year, according to the iCasualties, a website tracking the casualties of foreign troops in the war-torn country.

The spring and summer is known as fighting season in the central Asian state.

The Taliban insurgent group, which has been waging an insurgency of more than one decade, launched an annual offensive in early May this year.

In the fighting season or from April to September, the military alliance had respectively lost 39, 45, 39, 46, 52, and 27 soldiers each month, according to figures compiled in the independent iCasualties website.

Twenty-four ISAF soldiers have been killed in Taliban-initiated attacks in October.

Out of the total fatalities last month, three service members died in non-battle related injuries and one British soldier with the coalition was killed in the so-called "green-on-blue" insider attack when Afghan army, police or gunmen in their uniform open fire against their international partners.

A British soldier was shot dead on Nov. 11 by a member of Afghan army following an argument in Nad Ali district of Helmand province, 555 km south of Kabul, where majority of the coalition soldier are from Britain.

Another British soldier was wounded and the attacker, who was also injured in the exchange of fire, was detained. No details about the incident were released.

The casualty brings the number of foreign soldiers killed in the green-on-blue attacks to 58 in about 38 insider attacks so far this year.

Taliban insurgents have often claimed responsibility for the insider attacks but the coalition military officials have recently said that about 25 percent of the insider attacks are in some manner related to the Taliban-led insurgency.

They said the factors that contribute to the so-called green on blue shootings are wide-ranging from infiltration and impersonation to personal grievances.

Eight out of 17 service members were killed in Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) explosions last month.

The simple but difficult to be detected Taliban weapon, the IEDs used in making suicide vests and roadside bombs, has proved a challenge for Afghan and NATO-led forces in the insurgency-hit country.

Up to 830 Afghan army personnel have also been killed in Taliban-led attacks from April to October and about 85 percent of Afghan army casualties were caused by the IEDs, said General Zahir Azimi, spokesman for the Afghan Defense Ministry last month.

Currently about 100,000 NATO-led forces, with 68,000 of them Americans, are stationed in the country to stop the Taliban from returning to power.

So far this year as of Wednesday Dec. 5, a total of 389 foreign soldiers, including 298 Americans have been killed in the war-torn country.

In 2010 and 2011, the NATO-led ISAF had respectively lost 711 service members including 499 Americans, and 566 service members, including 418 Americans.

According to iCasualties, a total of 3,236 service members with the ISAF forces have lost their lives since the war began in late 2001 in Afghanistan. Out of the total fatalities, 2,162 were Americans, 438 Britons and 636 from other troops-contributing countries.


Editor: Fang Yang
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