Jay Price | McClatchy Foreign Staff | KABUL, Afghanistan — The shift to Afghan security forces leading in combat and the ongoing reduction of U.S. troops here have driven American casualties during the first half of 2013 to the lowest level in five years.
"Afghan National Security Forces are primarily the units in contact with enemy forces, rather than ISAF personnel," Lt. Tamarac Dyer, a spokeswoman for the U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) wrote in an emailed response to questions about casualties.
In the first six months of the year, 72 American troops were killed in Afghanistan, according to icasualties.org, a web site that tracks casualties.
The last year when casualties were that low for the same period was 2008. Then, 66 Americans died in between January and June, and 155 were killed in the full year. The worst year for U.S. casualties was 2010, when 499 Americans died. All told, more than 2,200 U.S. troops have been killed since the war began in 2001.