Agence France-Presse & Kirsten Grieshaber / Associated Press & The News / PAP – 2011-06-03 01:07:03
Record NATO Deaths in
Early Afghan Fighting Season
KABUL (June 2, 2011) — More foreign troops in Afghanistan were killed in April and May this year, the early stages of the fighting season, than in the same months of any year of the decade-long conflict, figures showed.
The death toll for international forces in April and May was 110 — 51 in April and 59 in May — according to figures from the independent iCasualties.org website. The overall figure was up from 85 in the same period last year and represents the highest death toll for April and May since the start of the war in late 2001.
April and May represent the early stages of the Taliban-led insurgency’s spring offensive in Afghanistan.
Since they announced the start of the offensive in late April this year, the Taliban and other rebels have launched a string of high-profile attacks including Saturday’s killing of the police commander for northern Afghanistan and two German troops.
The number of casualties in fighting usually peaks from June to September. A total of 711 troops from the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) were killed last year.
An ISAF spokesman could not immediately comment on the figures. But the US commander of foreign troops in Afghanistan, David Petraeus, said earlier this month that the war was now reaching a “pivotal moment.”
He added: “Given the progress that Afghan and ISAF troopers have made since last summer, especially in clearing and holding areas, it is likely that our enemies will pursue high-profile attacks this summer in an attempt to demonstrate continued capability.”
The figures emerged weeks before the planned start of the handover of responsibility for security from foreign to Afghan forces in seven safer areas of Afghanistan from July.
Afghan forces are due to take the lead for security across the country by 2014, allowing for the withdrawal of all foreign combat troops.
1 German Soldier Dead, 5 Wounded
When Tank Hit by Roadside Bomb
Kirsten Grieshaber / Associated Press
BERLIN (June 2, 2011) — One German soldier died and five were wounded when their tank was hit by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan, German news agency DAPD reported on Thursday.
A spokesman for the Bundeswehr Operations Command in Potsdam said earlier that the attack on the German ISAF soldiers took place Thursday morning in the province of Baghlan, around 22 miles (35 kilometers) south of the city of Kunduz. He could not immediately be reached to confirm that one soldier died of his injuries.
The spokesman, who was talking on condition of anonymity in line with department policy, said the soldiers were in a German Marder tank when they were attacked. The soldiers were taken by helicopter to their military base in Kunduz.
Polish Soldier Dies in Afghanistan
The News / PAP
WARSAW (June 2, 2011) — Lance Corporal Jaroslaw Mackowiak was killed and two other soldiers wounded during an insurgent attack on a Polish patrol, Thursday, in the Ghazni province, southeast Afghanistan. Polish armed forces spokesman Major Szczepan GÅ‚uszczak said the attack took place this morning north-west of the Giro base where the Bravo battle group is situated.
The soldiers were attacked with small arms fire and anti-tank grenade launchers. The wounded have been transported to a field hospital in Ghazni where their condition is said to be “stable.”
Twenty five Polish soldiers, including a military civilian medic, have been killed in action in Afghanistan, where Poland has around 2,500 troops stationed as part of the multinational ISAF mission.
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