June deadliest month for foreign troops in Afghan war

Last Updated: Thursday, June 24, 2010 - 19:09

Kabul: The deaths of another four NATO
troops in an accident in Afghanistan made June the deadliest
single month for US-led foreign forces in nearly nine years of
conflict, according to an tally on Thursday.

The grim landmark followed the sacking of NATO`s
commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, which
was greeted with dismay in Kabul where Afghan officials and
foreign diplomats praised his efforts to reshape the war.
A total of 79 foreign troops have died so far this month
as a result of the conflict in Afghanistan, according to an
AFP tally based on statistics on the independent
icasualties.org website.

The record eclipsed the previous bloodiest month for NATO
troops last August, when 77 soldiers were killed. Since the
US-led invasion in late 2001, around 1,870 foreign troops have
been killed.

The latest dead were four British troops who were killed
in a vehicle crash in the southern province of Helmand, the
Ministry of Defence said, bringing the overall British death
toll to 307.

The US military has warned that casualties will
inevitably mount as foreign forces build up their campaign to
oust militants from the southern province of Kandahar, a
hotbed of bombings, assassinations and lawlessness.
Much of southern Afghanistan is blighted by the Taliban
insurgency, now in its deadliest phase since the US-led
invasion ousted the hardline Islamist regime and installed a
Western-backed administration led by Hamid Karzai.

So far 299 NATO troops have died this year, according to
AFP tallies. Last year, 520 NATO troops died -- the worst
annual total yet.

McChrystal`s counter-insurgency strategy, which brought
sweeping changes aimed at cutting civilian casualties and
winning over the population, had been credited with bringing
some order to the spiralling conflict.

His strategy poured tens of thousands of extra troops
into Afghanistan to win over civilians and train local forces.

Karzai`s government publicly urged the White House not to
remove McChrystal over disparaging remarks he made about
officials in US President Barack Obama`s administration in a
magazine profile.

But the Afghan government later said it respected Obama`s
decision and welcomed the appointment of David Petraeus, the
general credited with changing the direction of the Iraq
conflict, to succeed McChrystal.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, June 24, 2010 - 19:09

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