Foreign troop deaths in Afghan war top 2,000: Website
Kabul: The total number of foreign troops killed in the nearly nine years of the Afghan war has topped 2,000, according to the independent icasualties.org website.
In all, 2,002 members of international forces have been killed since the US-led invasion in 2001, including 1,226 Americans and 331 from Britain, the website said.
So far this year, 434 foreign troops have been killed, compared with a peak of 521 in 2009, it said.
There are currently more than 140,000 US and NATO-led troops in Afghanistan aiming to flush out remnants of the hardline Islamist Taliban, who went on the offensive after being toppled from government in the 2001 invasion.
In a US television interview yesterday, the US commander in Afghanistan, General David Petraeus, said he would not be bound by a July 2011 deadline to begin withdrawing US troops.
Petraeus, who took over command of foreign forces last month, said US President Barack Obama's date for the start of a limited US withdrawal was not set in stone and should be viewed more as an attempt to increase the urgency of the counter-insurgency effort.
"I think the President has been quite clear in explaining that it's a process, not an event, and that it's conditions-based," Petraeus told NBC television's 'Meet the Press'.
US reinforcements are trying to drive back Taliban insurgents in the south with the last units of a 30,000-strong surge of troops due to swell American numbers to 100,000 in the coming weeks.
Obama has been strongly criticised for saying US troops will start coming home in mid-2011. Opponents say it sends out the message America is not in the fight for the long-term and adds to the Taliban's resolve to wait it out.