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Afghan Deaths Soar to Highest on Record as U.S. Weighs Strategy

  • ‘Shockingly high’ death rates among Afghan security forces
  • U.S. dropped biggest non-nuclear bomb to counter insurgents
A U.S. Army helicopter crewman mans a gun on the rear gate as it departs Resolute Support headquarters in Kabul.

A U.S. Army helicopter crewman mans a gun on the rear gate as it departs Resolute Support headquarters in Kabul.

Photographer: Pool/Getty Images

Almost sixteen years after the U.S.-backed ouster of the Taliban, Afghanistan remains in the grip of a war with “shockingly high” death rates among security forces and a record number of casualties among civilians, according to the U.S. government watchdog monitoring the country’s reconstruction efforts.

Civilian casualties rose to 11,418 last year, the highest since the United Nations began keeping records in 2009. In the first six weeks of this year, 807 Afghan soldiers were killed, John Sopko, the U.S. special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, said in a quarterly report to Congress issued late Sunday.