Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

The bloodiest month of the war in Afghanistan

June was the bloodiest month of the war in Afghanistan, reports John McCreary, the former DIA analyst who follows the fighting there closely. This seems to be shifting to a war of roadside bombs, very different from the war of a few years ago. The unclassified fighting data for June 2009 establish it as the ...

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BAQWA, AFGHANISTAN - MARCH 21: An IED explodes while being destroyed by U.S. Marines on March 21, 2009 near the remote village of Baqwa, Afghanistan. Members of the Marine Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team, part of the 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, found three large IEDs which had been buried in the road the night before. The Marines, operating in Farah Province of southwest Afghanistan, are seeing a spike in Taliban attacks against American forces with the onset of the spring "fighting season." (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

June was the bloodiest month of the war in Afghanistan, reports John McCreary, the former DIA analyst who follows the fighting there closely. This seems to be shifting to a war of roadside bombs, very different from the war of a few years ago.

The unclassified fighting data for June 2009 establish it as the most bloody month in the 8 year history of the US and Coalition presence.  According to icasualties.org, 38 ISAF and NATO soldiers died (27 US, 2 UK, 2 Canada, 1 Estonia, 3 Denmark, 3 German); 23 -- 60% -- from roadside bombs. The only months in which NATO deaths were higher were June and August 2008 during the summer offensive last year, but adding in the number of wounded, June 2009 is the worst month of the 8 year fight.

June was the bloodiest month of the war in Afghanistan, reports John McCreary, the former DIA analyst who follows the fighting there closely. This seems to be shifting to a war of roadside bombs, very different from the war of a few years ago.

The unclassified fighting data for June 2009 establish it as the most bloody month in the 8 year history of the US and Coalition presence.  According to icasualties.org, 38 ISAF and NATO soldiers died (27 US, 2 UK, 2 Canada, 1 Estonia, 3 Denmark, 3 German); 23 — 60% — from roadside bombs. The only months in which NATO deaths were higher were June and August 2008 during the summer offensive last year, but adding in the number of wounded, June 2009 is the worst month of the 8 year fight.

Unclassified data show that 85 men were wounded, including 28 US, 5 UK, 7 Netherlands, 3 Poland, 1 Australia, 3 Estonia, 4 Italy, 1 Denmark, 1 France, 4 Canada.  In addition, 27 other International Security Assistance Force personnel were reported wounded by reliable sources but not identified by nationality.”

In this war, by the way, old soldiers do die. One of the four Americans killed in Kunduz the other day was: “2nd Lt. Derwin I. Williams, 41, of Glenwood, Ill. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 106th Cavalry Regiment, Dixon, Ill.

John Moore/Getty Images

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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