Attrition: Death In Afghanistan

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October 26, 2007: Despite the scary headlines about the fighting in Afghanistan, U.S. troops have suffered less than one combat death a week, out of a force of over 20,000 troops. Since October, 2001, U.S. forces have lost 256 troops in combat in Afghanistan. In addition, 127 have died from accidents or disease. That's 64 dead a year. During the 1980s, when Russia had about five times as many troops fighting in Afghanistan, they lost 1572 dead a year, about 25 times the American losses (or five times, when adjusted for the larger number of Russian troops.) However, while 33 percent of U.S. losses were from accidents and disease, only 18 percent of Russian losses were. However, a much higher proportion (over half) of Russian troops were out of action because of disease. American losses are lower for the same reason casualties (which are half the rate suffered in Vietnam) are lower; better training (very realistic), equipment (like body armor), support (living conditions and medical care)and weapons (smart munitions).

 


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