US occupation forces in Afghanistan have seen their death tolls drop sharply over this winter. Winter is always an extremely quiet time for the war in a nation with little infrastructure, but the deaths tolls have actually marked a five-year low, according to officials.
Unlike past years, this drop seems to be reflecting a Taliban focus on fighting the Afghan military directly, with Afghan forces now taking the brunt of the attacks and government worker deaths increasing tenfold over the past year.
NATO officials say that in some ways the drop in the foreign death toll is simply a function of the military drawdown, with less troops out and about in the field meaning less opportunities to attack them. The same is not true for Afghanistan’s own military, which NATO has kept enormous.
Officials are also citing the decrease in the number of insider attacks in recent months, though whether this is simply a seasonal drop or, as they claim, proof they are doing a better job of preventing infiltration remains to be seen.