The main reason for increased American casualties this year is the much larger number of combat patrols by U.S. troops. In July, 2004, there were 1,600 patrols, this year it was 3,450. In August, 2004, there were 2,200 patrols, this year, 3,200. Moreover, this year, intelligence on the enemy was better, as it has been every year since 2001. During those two months in 2004, about 250 enemy fighters were killed. This year, 520 died. American casualties more than doubled as well.
So far, four election candidates or officials have been killed by the Taliban. A cleric who supported the elections was beheaded.