Wednesday, February 25, 2009

War heats up

The toll on soldiers:

East Afghan clashes up 20 pct this winter-ISAF

KABUL, Feb 25 (Reuters) - [...] Clashes in the east of Afghanistan, where mainly U.S. troops deployed went up by about 20 percent from November to January compared to the same three-month period last year, said Captain Mark Durkin, spokesman for NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF)...

The figures still represent a significant rise in violence over last year when the U.S. military said clashes in eastern Afghanistan rose by 40 percent in the first five months of 2007, compared to 2006...

U.S. officials admit they are currently not winning the war in which large hi-tech Western armies find themselves fighting small groups of lightly armed insurgents who rely on suicide and roadside bomb attacks to undermine security.

Commanders predict violence will rise further this year as troops, bolstered by reinforcements, move into areas they have seldom patrolled before. (link)
Meanwhile, the NYT reports:
So far, 26 American service members and 13 from other countries in the coalition have been killed in Afghanistan this year, almost twice as many as the first two months of 2008... (link)
The Brits too:
More than 100 British soldiers have suffered amputations and other debilitating injuries in the past year in Afghanistan, according to previously suppressed Ministry of Defence (MoD) figures that reveal the true toll of the Taliban’s roadside bombing campaign.

The number of troops losing limbs or eyes, suffering serious burns or permanent brain damage has increased dramatically since August 2007 when the Taliban intensified their efforts... (link)

August 2007:
The Telegraph reports on increased casualties:
The casualty rate among front line units fighting in Afghanistan has now surpassed the average suffered by troops in the Second World War...

In particular the 1st Bn Royal Anglians has lost a fifth of its troops to battlefield wounds, disease and injuries with 131 soldiers, most of them front line veterans, becoming casualties... (link)

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