Pentagon Links Rising Death Toll to Troops Surge in Afghanistan

More Troops Means More Opportunities for 'Hostile Contact'

The Pentagon today sought to downplay the rising NATO death toll in Afghanistan, saying that it was simply a function of the December escalation.

We have more forces in Afghanistan, ISAF and US forces, than at any other time. The level of activity is high, so as we conduct our operations and engage with the enemy, the opportunities for hostile contact are going to go up,” insisted Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman.

Four US troops were slain today when Taliban forces fired a pair of rockets at the helicopter they were in, knocking it out of the sky. So far at least 28 NATO troops, mostly Americans, have been slain in the month of June.

Yet as the Pentagon gets more and more desperate to show some sort of “progress” in the nearly nine year long war, the simple explanation that more troops means more violence is not a particularly good excuse. After all, this latest escalation, which brings the number of US troops in the nation near 100,000, was supposed to stabilize Afghanistan, not simply add to the spiraling violence.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.