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Our View: Sad milestone for our troops

Published: Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT

The U.S. hit a sad milestone over the weekend when the 2,000th American service member was killed in the 11-year conflict in Afghanistan.

Although international participation in Afghanistan is drawing down, tens of thousands of our soldiers remain in harm’s way training the Afghan government and police forces to independently maintain national security once the remaining foreign troops depart in about two years.

Many of the U.S. deaths in recent months are the result of sneak attacks by our supposed allies: Afghan soldiers and police officers who our troops are training.

“I’m mad as hell about them, to be honest with you,” Gen. John Allen, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, told CBS’ “60 Minutes” on Sunday, according to The Associated Press. “It reverberates everywhere across the United States. You know, we’re willing to sacrifice a lot for this campaign, but we’re not willing to be murdered for it.”

It’s a disturbing trend, one that further complicates the conflict that is now in its 11th year. There’s been little talk about the war’s direction by either President Barack Obama or challenger Mitt Romney on the campaign trail, and unless something changes, U.S. combat operations are not scheduled to end until some time in 2014.

About 68,000 U.S. troops remain in Afghanistan after 33,000 withdrew last month, signaling the end of the 2009 surge in U.S. forces deployed by President Barack Obama. We thank them for their service, and wish them safe returns.

Two DeKalb County natives have been killed in Afghanistan. Army Pfc. Matthew Martinek (died Sept. 11, 2009) and U.S. Embassy worker Jay Henigan (died Sept. 28, 2011) died while serving our country.

We honor them for making the ultimate sacrifice.

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