US military deaths in the Afghan war have reached 2,000, a grim milestone that serves as a reminder that the 11 year conflict is still ongoing, and still taking a toll.
The New York Daily News reported that US forces plan to scale back operations in Afghanistan, withdrawing most combat forces by the end of 2014. The recent spike in US deaths comes on the heels of attacks by Afghan police and military members, who are supposed to be allies. On average, 182 US soldiers per year have died in the conflict.
The recent attacks have raised questions about whether or not the US led coalition will be able to sufficiently stabilize the government in Kabul by the time forces withdraw.
A US official confirmed the 2,000th death, saying that an international service member killed in an apparent insider attack by Afghan forces in the east of the country late Saturday was an American. A nonmilitary contractor with NATO and at least two Afghan soldiers were also killed.
ABC News reports that the insider attacks have killed 52 so far.
“We have to get on top of this. It is a very serious threat to the campaign,” the U.S. military’s top officer, Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, told ABC News.
The United States still has 68,000 troops in Afghanistan as part of a 108,000-strong NATO coalition. The current coalition strategy includes trying to train more than 300,000 Afghan police and military, making the attacks that much more of a threat.
“I’m mad as hell about them, to be honest with you,” Allen told CBS’ 60 Minutes in an interview to be broadcast on Sunday. “It reverberates everywhere across the United States. You know, we’re willing to sacrifice a lot for this campaign, but we’re not willing to be murdered for it.”
While the death toll for US troops in Afghanistan has reached 2,000, the death toll in Iraq reached 4,500.