noworldsystem.com


U.S. Casualties in Afghanistan could be 500 a month

US forces in Afghanistan ‘should expect up to 500 casualties a month’

Times Online
January 7, 2010

US forces in Afghanistan should brace themselves for up to 500 casualties a month this year, a senior retired American general has warned.

The forecast comes from General Barry McCaffrey, formerly the most decorated general in the US Army, who has conducted field assessments of the US military performance in Afghanistan at the request of the US military since 2003.

His assessment projects that US forces can expect to lose between 300 and 500 soldiers a month, either killed or wounded, this year, rising to a peak during the summer months. US military casualties during 2009 were 305 killed and 2,102 injured up to December 20. More than half of those injured have not been able to return to service.

Casualties in Afghanistan tend to peak during the summer “fighting season” between June and October and to dip, particularly in mountainous areas, during the winter.

The anticipated increase would produce around 3,000 American casualties this year, and a total for Western forces in Afghanistan of around 5,000 killed and wounded — the equivalent of seven infantry battalions.

British forces suffered 108 deaths last year, and 464 wounded in action.

General McCaffrey is an adjunct professor at the US Military Academy at West Point. While his assessment is not a government document, it was conducted at the request of General David Petraeus, the commander of US Central Command, and General Stanley McChrystal, the commander of Nato forces in Afghanistan, and included comprehensive access to senior Western military officials and diplomats, including British officials.

He suggests that the Taleban deserve considerable respect for their tenacity and military capability. “We must guard against arrogance, and US and allied ground combat forces”, he warns, face “very clever fighters” with “ferocious combat capabilities”.

He cites in particular two occasions when small American bases were all but overrun by “battalion-size” Taleban units during 2009: “Only the incredible small unit leadership, fighting skill, and valour of these two small US army units — which suffered very high casualties at [Combat Outpost] Wanat and COP Keating — prevented humiliating defeat.”

Despite the stated desire of the Obama Administration to achieve a discernible improvement in Afghanistan within 18 months, and to begin a military drawdown after that time, General McCaffrey concludes: “We are unlikely to achieve our political and military goals in 18 months. This will inevitably become a three to ten-year strategy to build a viable Afghan state with their own security force that can allow us to withdraw.

“It may well cost us an additional $300 billion, and we are likely to suffer thousands more US casualties.”

A promised “US civilian surge” will not materialise, he believes: “Afghanistan over the next two to three years will be simply too dangerous for most civil agencies.”

He adds that the war can be expected to cost the US Government more than $9 billion (£5.6 billion) a month during the summer of 2010. The cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is currently $377 million a day, compared with a constant-dollar equivalent of $622 million a day for the Second World War.

However, his assessment is that the mission’s goals remain possible: “We can achieve our strategic purpose with determined leadership and American treasure and blood.

“We now have the most effective and courageous military forces in our nation’s history committed to this campaign … Our focus must now not be on an exit strategy — but effective execution of the political, economic and military measures required to achieve our purpose.”

Serial Catastrophes in Afghanistan threaten Obama Policy

 

Advertisements

Leave a Comment so far
Leave a comment



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s



%d bloggers like this: