The total number of coalition military fatalities since the beginning of the Afghan war is 12 in 2001, 69 in 2002, 57 in 2003, 60 in 2004, 131 in 2005, 191 in 2006, 232 in 2007, 295 in 2008, 521 in 2009, and 711 in 2010, amounting to a total of 2,281.

Every passing year the NATO adventure in Afghanistan claims higher flows of blood, resources and money only to drift farther away from its alleged mission objectives. In 2010 military fatalities numbered 711, a 36% increase on 2009, thus offering a convincing testimony of NATO's powerlessness to make the mark. Already 10-year long, the Afghanistan war ranks with the Vietnam war as the longest of all wars engaged by the USA, far exceeding World War I (2 years), World War II (6 years) or the Korean War (3 years).

From the duration standpoint, NATO's strategy (a) is not at fault, because it clearly stated that "there is no pre-defined end date for the mission" — although more than one high official may feel that it is becoming excessively long. However, NATO's expectations are at odds with reality when defined as a situation in which the Afghan National Security Forces are able to provide security and sustain stability without NATO/ISAF support. In fact, with or without NATO/ISAF support, no security, no stability, no peace, no justice, no decent living conditions, nothing but chaos, destruction and oppression is provided to the people of Afghanistan.

In spite of a significant swelling of the western forces to about 300,000 men, including US 100,000 military and 150,000 hired mercenaries, the Afghan fighters, far from being forced to flee or surrender, show enormous resilience and hit back with determination, thus feeding the worst fear (b) of western strategists: a steady attrition eroding public support and the will of ISAF member nations to continue fighting.

Other signs of a lost endeavor are patent in Afghanistan. US official reports alert to the chaotic situation that prevails in the military supply chain system, out-sourced to dubious contractors, that risks to put in jeopardy critical supplies to NATO forces in the field, while providing a significant source of funding for the Afghan fighters (c). US officials also uncovered evidence that the use of mercenaries results in funneling US dollars to Afghan warlords and strongmen linked to murder, kidnapping, bribery as well as Taliban and other anti-coalition parties (d).

A reliable indicator of the dead end where the NATO mission finds itself is the degree of deliquescence of the social values that make the fabric of a viable society. Corruption, abuse, treachery and extortion fueled by the ubiquity of powerful strangers handling vast amounts of US dollars destroy the remnants of justice, dignity, respect of personal integrity and trust-based relationships. Lack of progress in the field have led NATO leaders to copycat the infamous and ill-fated Phoenix operation (e) in Vietnam, setting up assassination teams and kidnapping squads (f) that operate in the middle of the night, or devising secret prisons where Afghans are taken for interrogation under torture (g) or outright assassination (h). Such excesses destroy the moral fiber of the western forces while alienating the local population — even stimulating its resolve to fight once it overcomes its fright.

For those who may ask whether NATO can still win the Afghanistan war, a sensible answer may be Kissinger's one (i). "In the traditional sense of fighting against an adversary with whom it is possible to make an enforceable agreement, no. In the sense of gradually defeating the insurgency and reducing it to impotence, theoretically yes, but it would take more time than the American political system would permit." In two letters : no.

(a) NATO in Afghanistan, Master Narrative as at 6 October 2008, Media Operations Centre (MOC) Press and Media Service, NATO HQ Brussels.
(b) CIA Red Cell Special Memorandum; Afghanistan: Sustaining West European Support for the NATO-led Mission-Why Counting on Apathy Might Not Be Enough. A Red Cell Special Memorandum 11 March 2010.
(c) Warlord, Inc.: Extortion and Corruption Along the U.S. Supply Chain in Afghanistan, US House of Representatives, June 2010.
(d) Inquiry into the Role and Oversight of Private Security Contractors in Afghanistan, US Senate, September 2010.
(e) The Phoenix Program and Contemporary Counterinsurgency, William Rosenau, Austin Long, RAND Corp. 2009.
(f) Afghanistan war logs: Task Force 373 – special forces hunting top Taliban., July 2010.
(g) Experiments in Torture: Evidence of Human Subject Research and Experimentation in the “Enhanced” Interrogation Program, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), June 2010.
(h) Preliminary Assessment of Alleged Mass Gravesites in the Area of Mazar-I-Sharif, Afghanistan (Amended), Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), Amended Report December 12, 2008.
(i) Transcript: Interview with Henry Kissinger, By Daniel Dombey. Published: June 28 2010 23:21.


Afghanistan War
Coalition Military Fatalities
(As of 31 December 2010)



Other Coalition Members



» Compare with the status at 31 December 2009 and at 30 June 2010


Sources: see Notes


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