In total, 66 U.S. troops have died this month—30 of them, mostly elite Navy SEALs, in the Chinook helicopter crash on Aug. 6— surpassing the previous record of 65 in July 2010. The crash was the deadliest incident for American forces in the ten-year war.
So far this year, 403 international service members, including at least 299 Americans, have been killed in Afghanistan.
The record-setting death toll coincides with the beginning of the troop withdrawal ordered by President Obama. He ordered the withdrawl of 10,000 troops this year and another 23,000 by the summer of 2012, leaving about 68,000 troops on the ground. Major combat units are not expected to start leaving for a few months, but two National Guard regiments of about 1,000 soldiers began returning home last month.