How many U.S. troops died in Afghanistan last month?

Incredibly, just one. That’s way down from the monthly average of 21 deaths since May, and given that 2008 has already been the deadliest year for U.S. troops in Afghanistan, a single death is a notable figure. But it’s probably unlikely that security there is any making solid, long-term gains: A U.S. military spokeman told ...

591360_081202_stiles25.jpg
591360_081202_stiles25.jpg

Incredibly, just one.

Incredibly, just one.

That’s way down from the monthly average of 21 deaths since May, and given that 2008 has already been the deadliest year for U.S. troops in Afghanistan, a single death is a notable figure. But it’s probably unlikely that security there is any making solid, long-term gains: A U.S. military spokeman told the LA Times that insurgents scale back operations during the colder months, which might have led to fewer deaths last month.

And notably, Spc. Jonnie L. Stiles died in mid-November when a suicide bomber struck his convoy. As Obama and Petraeus hone in on a new strategy for Afghanistan, suicide attacks, which have been the terror tactic of choice there for just the past few years, are sure to remain the primary threat to U.S. troops.

Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

Carolyn O'Hara is a senior editor at Foreign Policy.

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