War In Afghanistan Marks First Decade

On Oct. 7, 2001, the United States launched an air campaign in Afghanistan, followed by a later ground invasion. Now, on the 10-year anniversary of the war’s start, the political situation in Afghanistan has changed, and Osama bin Laden has been killed. Even so, violence continues to shake Afghanistan, affecting soldiers and civilians alike. CNN tallies the military lives lost in the war:

More than 2,700 troops from the United States and its partners have died during the 10 years of war, according to a CNN count. Of those, 1,780 were American, 382 were British and 157 were Canadian.

Since the conflict began, the number of casualties has risen by the year, with a significant jump from 2008 to 2009. At least 296 coalition troops died in 2008.

It nearly doubled in 2009 when 517 coalition troops were killed. That year, President Barack Obama authorized a surge of 33,000 U.S. forces to Afghanistan to combat the violence.

Two years later, the United States outlined its plan to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan, beginning with pulling the 33,000 surge troops by the end of 2012 and the remaining 68,000 by the end of 2014.

Those who have fought in the war have begun to question whether the mission has been worth these considerable sacrifices. A new study by the Pew Research Center found that 50 percent of post-9/11 veterans believe the war in Afghanistan is worth fighting, compared to 41 percent of the general public.

Meanwhile, civilian casualties are difficult to estimate, but the United Nations reported that 1,462 civilians died in the first six months of 2011 alone. The vast majority — 80 percent — of those deaths were the result of insurgents. Additional reports of violence in Afghanistan, such as the September assassination of former Afghan President Rabbani and periodic suicide bombings, have shown that, a decade into the war, the situation on the ground remains precarious.


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