August becomes the deadliest month in Afghanistan
Just months after President Barack Obama announced the drawdown in troops from Afghanistan, U.S. forces saw their deadliest month yet. A record 66 troops were killed during August, surpassing the previous high of 65 killed in July 2010, The Associated Press reports.
Most of the deaths occurred on August 6 when 30 Americans died after their helicopter was shot down. Many of the troops killed were Navy SEALs, and it marked the single deadliest incident since the beginning of the war nearly 10 years ago.
In addition to the 30 that were killed when the helicopter went down, another died in southern Afghanistan, while 13 more were killed in the eastern part of the country. All told, 299 American soldiers have died in Afghanistan this year. The deadly month does not bode well for Obama's troop reduction plan, which hopes to bring 33,000 soldiers back to the states by the end of next summer.
Afghanistan's president Hamid Karzai has said that he hopes to have the country's sercurity forces take over the lead by 2014, and recently spoke about the growing number of Tailiban defectors, including a group of children who were recruited to become suicide bombers.
"We have with us those children who were forced by the Taliban – or whoever was behind it – to commit suicide attacks," he said on Tuesday, the AP reports. "They [the children] were saved using their wisdom."
The morbid milestone also comes at a time when a growing number of reports are showing a mismanagement of funds by the United States. According to The Washington Post, the U.S. has wasted $30 billion on contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last 10 years.