NATO death toll drops in Afghanistan in October
Xinhua | 2012-11-2 15:23:51
By Agencies
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The death toll of the NATO-led coalition or International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan considerably decreased for the second successive month in October in comparison with August when the military alliance suffered the highest casualties since January this year by losing 52 service members.

Twenty-four ISAF soldiers, among them 17 US troops, have lost their lives in October compared to 27 in September, according to the iCasualties, a website tracking the casualties of foreign troops in the war-torn country.

Out of the total fatalities, four service members have been killed in the so-called "green-on-blue" insider attacks when Afghan army, police or gunmen in their uniform open fire against their international partners.

In the latest such attacks, two British soldiers with the coalition were killed on October 30 when their patrol was attacked by a man wearing the uniform of Afghan National Police (ANP) in Nahr- e Saraj district of Helmand province, some 555 km south of Afghan capital of Kabul.

The attacker fled the scene after making sure his victims were killed.

Days earlier, two US soldiers were killed in a similar incident in Khas Uruzgan district of southern Uruzgan province 370 km south of Kabul on October 25. The shooter who was in ANP uniform escaped shortly after the incident.

The casualty brings the number of foreign soldiers killed in green-on-blue attacks to 57 in about 37 green-on-blue attacks so far this year.

The Taliban insurgents, who have been waging an insurgency of more than one decade, have regularly claimed responsibilities for the green on blue attacks, saying their men have infiltrated into the ranks of Afghan army and police to kill foreign soldiers.

However, the coalition military officials have recently said that about 25 percent of the insider attacks are in some manner related to the Taliban-led insurgency.

They said the factors that contribute to the so-called green on blue shootings are wide-ranging from infiltration and impersonation to personal grievances.

However, it is said that the cultural differences between Afghan security forces and their western partners could also be a reason for the attacks.

The Taliban-led insurgency has been rampant since the militant group, whose regime was ousted in a US-led invasion in late 2001, launched an annual offensive on May 3 against Afghan and the NATO- led forces across the country.

In the bloodiest attack against the coalition and the Afghan forces, three US soldiers, the provincial commander of the Afghan rapid-reaction police force, Mubarak Shah, along with three ALP officers and six civilians were killed in a suicide attack in Khost city, the provincial capital of Khost province.

Up to 61 people including three ALP officers and 58 civilians were wounded in the bombing for which Taliban claimed responsibility in the province 150 km southeast of Kabul on October 1.

Until Friday, November 2 up to 370 foreign soldiers, with 280 of them American troops, have been killed in Afghanistan so far this year.

According to US President Barack Obama's withdrawal plan, the last of 33,000 additional US troops would have been withdrawn from Afghanistan this month, bringing the total number of foreign soldiers to 100,000 with nearly 68,000 of them Americans.

The ultimate goal is to transfer leading security responsibility to the Afghan forces by 2014.

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Posted in: Asia-Pacific

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