By Debbie Gregory.
According to a DOD report, no members of the U.S. military were killed in Afghanistan in March. This would be the first time since January, 2007 that the U.S. Armed Forces went a full calendar month without a combat-related fatality.
For the first time in more than seven years, the U.S. military can celebrate, not losing a single soul to the war that has raged since 2001. March, 2014, was only the third month without U.S. fatalities since the wars broke out, the other two months were January 2007 and July 2002.
The lack of U.S. fatalities does not mean that the fighting has ceased, and twelve U.S. military personnel were injured in March. Additionally, three non-U.S. coalition members were killed. Coalition forces, though with fewer overall deaths, have not experienced a fatality free month in almost twelve years. The last month that no coalition forces were killed in Afghanistan was in July, 2002.
Since the fighting in Afghanistan spiked in 2005, the deadliest year for the U.S. was 2010, with 499 losses. The month with the most U.S. fatalities in Afghanistan was August, 2011, when 71 Americans were killed or later died from non-combat-related injuries. As of early, 2,309 American troops have died in Afghanistan, and nearly 20,000 have been wounded, according to the Pentagon.
The U.S. military forces in Afghanistan are currently transitioning combat responsibilities from American and NATO personnel to Afghan National Security Forces. As it stands now, all U.S. personnel will pull out of Afghanistan by the end of 2015, unless the Afghan government approves the Bilateral Security Agreement that will allow for the continuing presence of U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan.
To many, these numbers are statistics, but each person who has been wounded or has sacrificed their life has family members and friends who suffer a heartbreaking loss. We all need to hold them in our hearts and thoughts.