The Afghanistan Problem

As of Friday, Oct. 16, 2009, at least 796 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan as a result of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to the Defense Department. The department last updated its figures Friday at 10 a.m. EDT. Of those, the military reports 614 were killed by hostile action.

More than 40 countries have sent forces to the war under the NATO banner, with Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Poland the largest European contributors, providing 21,000 troops together. Western resolve has been tested by mounting casualties in Afghanistan, where insurgent violence has reached its highest level since the Taliban was ousted from power in late 2001. France President Nicolas Sarkozy will not send any more troops to Afghanistan and wants instead to see an enlarged Afghan army. France has slightly more than 3,000 soldiers there. Britain announced this week that it was ready to send 500 more troops. U.S. troop levels have already risen by thousands and are supposed to rise to a projected 68,000 by the end of this year.

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