|U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Lane Edward Morrow, of Susanville, Calif. on an early morning guard shift at a vehicle checkpoint in Helmand province, southern Afghanistan recently.|
NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- August became the deadliest month for American operations in Afghanistan as the war neared its 10-year anniversary. Sixty-six U.S. troops have been killed in August, a number that surpassed the previous one-month record tally of 65 killed in July 2010, according to The Associated Press.
downed a Chinook helicopter on Aug. 6 that killed 30 Americans -- most of whom were special operation Navy SEALs -- which added to the high death count for the entire month. The unfortunate death toll came two months after President Barack Obama announced plans to begin troop drawdown from the beleaguered region, which was expected to withdraw some 10,000 soldiers before the close of 2011 and a total of 33,000 by summer of 2012. "I know that our troops will continue the hard work of transitioning to a stronger Afghan government and ensuring that Afghanistan is not a safe haven for terrorists," Obama said on Aug. 8 in remarks about the soldiers lost in the downed helicopter. "We will press on, and we will succeed." Two National Guard regiments that totaled about 1,000 troops returned to the United States in July. But even with the drawdown, some 68,000 of the roughly 97,000 troops in Afghanistan were expected to remain after the summer of 2012, which Obama said would return the U.S. military presence to pre-surge levels. At least 299 American service members and another 403 international troops have been killed in Afghanistan in 2011, according to the AP. -- Written by Joe Deaux in New York. >To submit a news tip, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org