There were 15 fatalities and 101 injury incidents involving U.S. troops in Afghanistan during U.S. President Donald Trump’s first year in office, according to Pentagon data.
Using those figures, Breitbart News determined there were about eight casualties, including deaths and injuries, per 1,000 American troops deployed to Afghanistan last year.
President Trump has intensified America’s involvement in Afghanistan, increasing the number of U.S. troops to 14,000, launching a record number of airstrikes targeting jihadists, carrying out an unprecedented offensive against the Taliban’s lucrative opium business, and backing the Afghan security forces on thousands of ground operations.
The number of fatalities last year is low despite the Taliban, Afghanistan’s most prominent terrorist organization, being in control of more territory than during any other time since the United States removed the jihadist group from power in late 2001.
Moreover, the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) branch in South Asia has expanded its presence in Afghanistan to more than six provinces, confirmed a recent assessment by the Pentagon.
Since the end of 2014, when former U.S. President Barack Obama declared the American combat mission over, the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF), which includes police and army units, has been primarily responsible for security in Afghanistan.
Most (1,863) of the total 2,263 fatalities in Afghanistan have been combat-related. The last few years have been no exception.
About 75 percent of all deaths and 85 percent of all injuries during the more than 16-year-old war in Afghanistan took place under Obama’s watch.
The death rate was higher during Obama’s first year in office (six per 1,000 troops deployed) than in 2017 (one per 1,000 troops).
It appears that American troops in Afghanistan are now doing more with less.
However, the Pentagon assessment warns:
The hard-won gains in Afghanistan – by the Afghans, the United States, NATO, and the international community – remain fragile, but are worth defending … Our commitment is enduring but not unlimited; our support is not a blank check. As long as the Afghan Government continues to show real progress and make real reforms, we will continue to support them as our strategic partners in the fight against international terrorism. The Taliban cannot win on the battlefield.
Moreover, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) report notes that the ANDSF has “improved” but is still facing “challenges.”
Although the American combat mission ended in December 2014, U.S. troops were still combating terrorist groups afterward, revealed the U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), a watchdog agency.
In its recently unveiled assessment, the Pentagon notes that the combat mission remains over, meaning that U.S. troops continue to be in a train, assist, and advise (TAA) role; while the ANDSF, which includes police and military units, leads the fight.
The number of successful terrorist attacks in Afghanistan slightly decreased in recent months, notes the Pentagon.