US death toll doubles in Afghanistan
New data from the US government shows that the number of American contractors killed in Afghanistan has increased by more than 100 percent.
The US Labor Department says it received at least 141 insurance claims for contractor deaths in Afghanistan last year, up from 55 in 2008, the USA Today reported.
In addition, the Labor Department data show that the US military deaths in Afghanistan doubled to 311 last year.
The sharp hike in death toll is attributed to violence as well as a surge in the number of American troop stationed in the war-ravaged country.
The department has a program that provides benefits for injuries or deaths at companies that contracted to work overseas for the US government.
The program paid compensations worth USD 200 million in 2008, up from USD 9.4 million in 2001, when the US led the invasion of Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, two former Xe Services (formerly known as Blackwater) employees have been indicted for murdering two civilians in Afghanistan last year.
The continuous killing of civilians by foreign forces has caused deep resentment among the Afghan population.
A report by the UN said that the number of civilians killed in 2009 was higher than in any year since the 2001 US-led invasion. Over 2,400 civilians were killed in Afghanistan last year.