Afghanistan casualties

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US Mourns Diplomat, 25, Killed in Afghanistan

Anne Smedinghoff among those who died in bombed convoy

(Newser) - Among the six Americans killed in Afghanistan yesterday was 25-year-old foreign service officer Anne Smedinghoff, reports CNN , the first US diplomat to be killed since Chris Stevens died in September. John Kerry led the mourning for her today, saluting the "vivacious, smart" up-and-comer who assisted him during a visit... More »

Afghan Civilian Deaths Down, Assassinations Up

Civilian deaths drop for the first time in 6 years

(Newser) - The UN's annual report on civilian casualties in Afghanistan is out, and it brings welcome news: civilian deaths are down, the first decline in six years. It's a byproduct of the war slowing down, but also reflects an effort to reduce civilian deaths, particularly at the hands of... More »

US Troop Deaths in Afghanistan Plummet in 2012

Deaths drop 25%, reflecting lower presence, increased Afghan responsibility

(Newser) - So far this year, 301 American troops have died in Afghanistan, down from 2010's peak of 500 and last year's 413, USA Today reports. The sharp decrease reflects the declining number of US troops in the country and the increasing number of Afghan troops now fighting the Taliban.... More »

Rocked by 'Friendly' Attacks, NATO Yanks Afghan Training

With 'green-on-blue' attacks rising, coalition pauses to re-vet recruits

(Newser) - With NATO forces in Afghanistan struggling to stop attacks from their own allies, training for all new recruits has been suspended while the 27,000 Afghan troops who work with the coalition can be re-screened for insurgency ties, reports the Washington Post . So far this year, so-called "green-on-blue" attacks... More »

Afghan Family of 8 Killed by Coalition Airstrike

Wayward strike further strains Afghan relations

(Newser) - A family of eight was killed in a coalition airstrike in eastern Afghanistan late last night, in the latest strain on US-Afghanistan relations, reports al-Jazeera . Local government officials said the man, his wife, and their six children were not affiliated with any anti-government group. "This man had no connection... More »

Afghan Civilian Deaths Hit New High

More than 3K killed, mostly by Taliban

(Newser) - Last year was the worst for violence against Afghan civilians since the UN started keeping track five years ago, with 3,021 killed, according to the AP . The UN report attributed the 8% rise in civilian killings to a surge in roadside bombs and suicide attacks by insurgents, with Taliban-affiliated... More »

Marines: Let Us Wear Memorial KIA Bracelets

Troops frustrated at inconsistent ban

(Newser) - Lance Cpl. Glenn Payne used to wear a bracelet carrying the name of a close friend who was killed in action in Afghanistan—until he was ordered to take it off. Marine Corps policy sees such KIA bracelets as unauthorized jewelry, but the ban on them is enforced inconsistently—and... More »

Gunman Kills American at Kabul CIA Station

Not yet clear whether attacker was connected to Taliban

(Newser) - An Afghan employee who “had the trust” of American CIA agents in Kabul shot and killed one US citizen and injured another last night at a compound believed to hold a CIA station. No motive is yet known, and it’s not clear whether the attacker—who was shot... More »

For US Forces in Afghanistan, August Deadliest Month Yet

Killing of 30 in helicopter spiked death toll

(Newser) - With 66 American troops killed in Afghanistan so far in August, this month has been the deadliest for US forces since the war began in 2001, reports the AP . Before this August, the deadliest month had been July 2010, when 65 US soldiers died. Nearly half of this month's... More »

Witnesses Recount Helicopter Tragedy

Chinook burst into flames, crashed in pieces

(Newser) - As soon as the Chinook helicopter carrying 30 American troops and eight Afghans was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade fired from a hillside, it burst into flames, a witness tells the AP . "After it started burning, it crashed. It came down in three pieces. We could see it burning... More »

Was Crashed Copter's Rescue Mission Necessary?

Investigators probing that question

(Newser) - A heartbreaking twist in the helicopter tragedy that claimed 38 US and Afghan lives: The rescue mission the troops were en route to may not even have been necessary. Special Operations forces in the remote Tangi Valley requested assistance after coming under fire from "several" insurgents, even though they... More »

NATO: Taliban Rocket Likely Downed Helicopter

Officials working to recover every single piece

(Newser) - The helicopter that crashed over the weekend in Afghanistan, killing 30 US troops and eight others, was likely shot down by a Taliban rocket, NATO forces said today. Though the Taliban was quick to claim responsibility, Western officials had been tight-lipped until today's announcement, Reuters notes. The Navy SEALs... More »

Brit Marine Leaves Pals $150K for Vegas Extravaganza

David Hart liked to have a good time

(Newser) - A British marine killed in Afghanistan left 32 of his closest friends a hefty parting gift: $150,000 for a Las Vegas vacation, reports the Huffington Post . Before David Hart left for duty, he took out a life insurance policy for roughly $400,000, and gave strict instructions that a... More »

Rogue Afghan Contractor Killed 2 US Soldiers

He is accused of opening fire as they were cleaning their guns

(Newser) - Afghan contractor Shir Ahmad was hired to provide security at an Afghanistan military base, but on Saturday—just 10 days after he was hired—he instead walked up to a group of soldiers and opened fire with an AK-47, killing two. Cpl. Donald Mickler Jr of Ohio, 29, and Pfc.... More »

Afghan War Killed 2 Kids a Day in 2010

Most of the deaths are blamed on insurgents

(Newser) - Nearly 740 kids—an average of about two a day—were killed in the Afghanistan war last year, says a watchdog group. About two-thirds of those deaths were blamed on insurgents—or "armed opposition groups" in the language of the report—with 17% blamed on US and NATO forces.... More »

27% of Afghans Say Insurgent Attacks Are Justified

Last year, only 8% thought so

(Newser) - A new poll shows a striking increase in the number of Afghans who support insurgent attacks against American troops: 27%, compared to just 8% last year, called such attacks justified. The increase parallels an increase in Afghan civilian casualties—fatalities and injuries were up 31% in the first half of... More »

UK Aid Worker Killed in Botched Afghan Rescue

Linda Norgrove had been kidnapped Sept. 26

(Newser) - A British aid worker kidnapped in Afghanistan last month was killed last night in a failed rescue attempt. UK Foreign Secretary William Hague said the UK received a tip about where Linda Norgrove was being held, and "given the danger she was facing," decided "her best chance... More »

Aussie Soldiers Charged in Afghan Kids' Deaths

Three ex-soldiers face host of charges over botched raid

(Newser) - Three former Aussie commandos have been charged for their role in a late-night raid that killed five Afghan children. The soldiers, who have not been identified, face a slew of charges including manslaughter and dangerous conduct, a military rep tells the AP . The charges stem from a February 2009 attack... More »

Chopper Crash Makes 2010 Deadliest Year of Afghan War

Taliban claims responsibility

(Newser) - Nine American troops were killed in a helicopter crash in southern Afghanistan today, making this year the deadliest one of the conflict for foreign troops, reports NBC . Some 529 foreign fighters have been killed in the country so far, compared to 521 in 2009, the previous deadliest year. The American... More »

US Soldiers in Afghanistan Took Home 'Finger Trophies'

'Kill team' murdered Afghan civilians for sport, say investigators

(Newser) - A secret "kill team" of US soldiers in Afghanistan murdered civilians for sport and kept their fingers as trophies, according to Army investigators. Prosecutors have charged members of an American infantry brigade with some of the most serious war crimes to surface in the Afghanistan war. Five of the... More »

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