July is deadliest month in 2012 for US troops
At least 1,961 U.S. service personnel have been killed in Afghanistan over the course of the 11-year war. Casualties rose steadily each year before reaching a peak in 2010 when 492 personnel were killed.
There has been a slight decrease in casualties since then, with 398 killed in 2011, and at least 219 so far this year. Even with the downward trend in deaths, however, one U.S. soldier has been killed every day this year on average. July has been the deadliest month of 2012 for U.S. troops, with 40 killed as a result of war-related violence.
Casualties have jumped each year in the summer months, when warm weather makes it easier for insurgents to move around the mountainous country and carry out attacks. The three deadliest months of the war for U.S. troops have been in summer: August 2011, 71 deaths; July 2010, 65 deaths; June 2010, 60 deaths. During the winter, the Taliban and other insurgent groups have tended to bed down to wait out the cold.
In the past two years, there has also been a surge of insider attacks in which Afghans have turned their guns on their international counterparts. NATO says that 34 international service members have been killed in such inside attacks so far this year.
The U.S. started drawing down forces from a peak of nearly 103,000 last year and plans to have decreased to 68,000 troops in Afghanistan by October.