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US deaths in Afghanistan hit record in 2010

September 10, 2010

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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 today. 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 icasualties.Org website.

Foreign forces suffered a grim spike in deaths last month as the Taliban insurgency intensified, with NATO confirming today 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 yesterday 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 yesterday, killed in an insurgent attack in the south of the country.

This followed the previously announced deaths on yesterday of another five US soldiers, four of them killed in a roadside bomb attack, which is the hallmark of the Taliban fighting style.

The icasualties.org website puts the number of soldiers to have died since the Afghan insurgency began in 2001 at 1,964, with 1,204 of them Americans.

Al Jazeera’s Clayton Swisher has been on patrol with US troops in the Arghandab river valley, used by the Taliban to stage attacks in neighbouring Kandahar.

He reports on the perseverance of the 82nd Airborne Division soldiers.

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