Afghanistan '09 Twice as Deadly as Iraq for US Military expects further rise in casualties By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff Posted Dec 31, 2009 1:22 AM CST 2 comments Comments US. Marines stand before the helmets, weapons, dogtags and boots of two fallen marines during a ceremony in their honor at Camp Bastion in southern Afghanistan. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder, file) (Newser) – This has been the first year since the Iraq war began that more Americans troops were killed in Afghanistan than Iraq, and next year is expected to be even worse. Some 319 American troops have died in Afghanistan this year, compared with 148 for Iraq, USA Today reports. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has predicted "a tough fight in 2010" as American reinforcements arrive to step up the action. "Casualties in Afghanistan are likely to go way up, at least initially," said a Heritage Foundation military analyst. "That's because we will be taking the fight to the enemy. I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing."