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NATO alarmed by Afghanistan losses

18 May 2010 9:23

A top NATO commander has expressed concern over the rising number of foreign casualties in Afghanistan, amid an upsurge of attacks against the US-led forces.

The war in Afghanistan has claimed the lives of about 1,100 US troops and over 600 coalition soldiers since 2001, Admiral James Stavridis said.

Estonia has suffered the most casualties per capita, followed by Denmark, Britain, Canada and the US, the admiral added.

Stavridis also told reporters on Monday that the alliance now faces a shortfall of hundreds of troops to train Afghan security forces through the next year.

NATO countries have so far agreed to send more trainers, but the program is 450 short of the 5,200 people needed this year.

The training mission in Afghanistan is allegedly NATO’s highest priority in the war-torn nation.

Top US and European allies claim that success in Afghanistan depends on whether the Afghan army and police can take over security of the country.

Civilian protection is also considered as another essential factor for NATO’s success in Afghanistan, Stavridis said.

This is while civilian casualties, caused by NATO attacks have increased drastically in recent years.

This has led to a growing resentment among war-weary Afghans, turning them firmly against the Western forces.

The issue has already deeply undermined NATO relations with Afghanistan.

There are currently over 120,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan, and the US, along with its other NATO allies, has announced the imminent deployment of 30,000 more.

However, NATO appears to have no clear exit strategy after almost nine years of invasion.

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