Attrition: Afghanistan Becomes The Most Dangerous Place

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June 26, 2008: Last month, two trends collided. It's now more dangerous for U.S. (and NATO) troops to be in Afghanistan, compared to Iraq. In May, U.S. troops suffered 19 dead in Iraq. On an annualized basis, that's 1.6 troops per thousand (per year). Still dangerous, but not particularly scary. In Afghanistan, U.S. and NATO troops suffered 29 dead in May. On an annualized basis, that's 5 troops per thousand (per year). There are about twice as many foreign troops in Iraq compared to Afghanistan. If the trends continue, this year will see Afghanistan being 2-3 times as dangerous for foreign troops, compared to Iraq.

Violence in Afghanistan is actually running at about half the level of last year, but NATO and Afghan troops are operating more aggressively this year. Unlike the past two years, there was no big "Taliban Spring Offensive" this year. Instead, government and foreign troops are attacking Taliban and drug gang control of parts of southern Afghanistan (where most of the world's terrorism currently comes from.)

It's a different kind of war in Afghanistan, with the enemy taking higher losses than their Iraqi counterparts. Al Qaeda has shifted its operations to Pakistan and Afghanistan, and is using the same tactics that caused it to be defeated in Iraq. Yes, it sounds idiotic. But these are the same people who believe they get 72 virgins (to abuse for eternity) when they are killed in combat, and seriously believe that if they keep fighting long enough, the world will become one big Islamic religious dictatorship, where women will live very restricted lives and all the men will wear beards. If it weren't for all the innocents these maniacs kill, it would be comic. But they do, and it isn't.

 


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