U.S. TROOP DEATH TOLL FINALLY HITS 2000 MAN BENCHMARK IN AFGHANISTAN
September 30 2012
Kabul, Afghanistan – Checkpoint shootings are nothing new in Afghanistan, almost common in fact, but one in Wardak province on Saturday was special. The deaths that occurred there, one soldier, a contractor, and a handful of Afghanis, pushed the overall U.S. death toll past 2000 men since 2001.
Thus far the names of the dead have not been released but the killings still mark a gruesome and tragic milestone for many in the country who were hoping that they would be pulled from duty before it was reached.
It’s not believed that the men who were killed had any idea that their deaths would push the toll past the record mark and if so took that as a small bit of solace as they lay dying.
It’s not clear what the Afghan total now stands at with the deaths of the other men at the facility because no one really keeps count of them.
“Initial reports indicate that a misunderstanding happened between Afghan army soldiers and American soldiers,” said provincial spokesperson Shahidullah Shahid. The circumstances were somewhat confused and we are establishing the full facts to the extent that it is possible.”
That toll is still dramatically less than the one incurred in Iraq, a war which ended with 4409 dead, but of course Iraq is a real country with a military and not just a bunch of guys with guns.
It’s not clear if finally reaching the new total will prompt U.S. forces to pull out any earlier than 2014 which of course would just put them out of work.
“I’m sure this isn’t a mark that anyone had hoped they would achieve but achieve it they have. That’s the way war goes I guess. People show up, do their job, and get shot for doing it and that just happens over and over again. I mean in this one it looks like they weren’t even in gun battle which just sucks, getting shot for showing up to work in the morning,” said Scrape TV International Conflict analyst Mario Martinez. “Of course it is a war zone and these kinds of things tend to happen in war zones. It’s a dangerous place to work, all in all, and it’s really surprising that more haven’t died. Of course there aren’t many people in country to begin with so that helps.”
Other reports indicate that the death toll might actually be higher but this is the official number which they presumably have correct.
“I can tell you though that this has to weigh heavily on people’s minds, or at least it did. I’m sure no one wanted o be number two thousand so having that happen will certainly relieve a lot of pressure on a lot of people going forward which at the very least should make their jobs a whole lot easier. Nothing like being under stress while in a war zone,” continued Martinez. “Hopefully they will just stop watching the number now and worry about not being killed rather than where they rank on the list. That kind of thing, number watching, can really be intrusive and you don’t want soldiers worrying about that when they have so many other things to pay attention to like dodging bullets and grenades and the like. It’s probably a good thing this is out of the way now.”
Officials expect many more to die before the end but refused to give exact numbers.
Mike Michaels, American Correspondent