Afghanistan: As US Casualties Approach 50,000, the Taliban Gains and Afghans Say They Want the US Out

April 29th, 2011 - by admin

Tom Haden / The Peace and Justice Resource Center – 2011-04-29 01:03:31

50,000 American Casualties in Afghanistan, Iraq
Tom Haden / The Peace and Justice Resource Center

(April 26, 2011) — According to US Troop Casualties from Oct. 7, 2011 through April 26, 2011 (all data courtesy DoD), some day soon, the number of American dead and wounded in Afghanistan and Iraq will surpass the 50,000 mark. As of today, that total is 49,182.

+ 5,998 American troops have died.

+ 43,184 American troops have been officially wounded.

+ An additional 54,592 have required medical evacuation out of combat theaters Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, and New Dawn.

The result, a sum total 103,774 US troops — a conservative minimum not including: the walking wounded; those suffering from traumatic brain injury; attempted or successful suicides; or civilian contractors — are casualties of these long wars.

Following the military’s surge in Afghanistan, American casualty rates have significantly worsened. 610 of the 1,546 US troop fatalities have occurred since 2009, along with 6,260 of the 11,110 total wounded during the same time frame.

Prison Break in Kandahar
Blows Hole in Pentagon Propaganda

Tom Haden / The Peace and Justice Resource Center

(April 26, 2011) — For more than one year, the Pentagon has been soliciting favorable public relations from the mainstream media and think tanks over its military surge in Kandahar. All that PR went down the Rabbit Hole on April 25, 2011 as nearly 500 Taliban prisoners escaped through a tunnel dug under Kandahar’s prison.

The White House, Congress and media should seize the opportunity to examine the stream of propaganda emanating for months about the US success in “the spiritual homeland of the Taliban,” and whether they have been manipulated in a “psy-ops” campaign to promote a favorable image of the surge. [See Michael Hastings’ article, “Another Runaway General,” in Rolling Stone magazine, February 23, 2011]

The escape is the second since 2008, when 1,200 Taliban prisoners were liberated in an attack on the same prison. Since 2008, the US has deployed an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan, more than half to southern Taliban strongholds in Kandahar and Helmand provinces.

The truth appears to be that the US war has gone from bad to worse. The prison escape is not only a huge psychological boost for the Taliban, but frees hundreds of fighters for the “spring offensive” now underway. It also blows a hole in any US claims of having secured the province. And it suggests that the Afghan security forces, on whom US policy depends, were directly engaged leaving cell doors open and leading the detainees into the tunnel.

A December 2011 survey of Afghan residents in Kandahar and Helmand showed 79 percent demanding the withdrawal of foreign troops by this summer or earlier. Three-quarters of Afghans in the same poll supported negotiations with the Taliban, and two-thirds favored Taliban leaders holding political office. The poll of Kandahar and Helmand residents offered “a rare dose of hopefulness,” according to the Washington Post. [December 6, 2010]

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