Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Good & bad

Some good news from Iraq, for a change:

The numbers of U.S. soldiers and Iraqi civilians reported killed across the country last month fell to their lowest levels in more than a year, a sharp decrease in violent deaths that American military officials attribute in part to the thousands of additional soldiers who have arrived here this year.

The death toll for Iraqi civilians fell sharply in September, according to Iraqi government and U.S. military figures. One count from Iraq's Health Ministry put the monthly death toll at 827 civilians, a 48 percent drop from the total in August, according to an official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the statistics.

The downward trend in victims of violence was mirrored by dropping fatalities among U.S. soldiers. By month's end, at least 66 U.S. soldiers were killed, the lowest monthly total since 65 died in August 2006, and about half the number who died during the deadliest month this year, according to icasualties.org, a Web site that tracks military deaths in Iraq.
Juxtaposed with some bad news from Afghanistan, though:
Afghanistan is currently suffering its most violent year since the 2001 U.S.-led intervention, according to an internal United Nations report that sharply contrasts with recent upbeat appraisals by President Bush and his Afghan counterpart, Hamid Karzai.

...There were 525 security incidents — attacks by the Taliban and other violent groups, bombings, terrorism of other kinds, and abductions — on average every month during the first half of this year, up from an average of 425 incidents per month in 2006.
Although it's not entirely clear here, I'd make a bet that this estimate does not include NATO operations.