The month of July saw 46 deaths among NATO International Security Assistance Force troops in Afghanistan, the highest number of fatalities in Operation Enduring Freedom in almost a year.
An unnamed NATO ISAF official told the Stars and Stripes the reason for the increase in fatalities has to do with an early poppy crop that helped fund insurgents, who've been forced out of cities and into more rural areas:
“By forcing insurgents out of more heavily populated areas like RC-Central, where violence has declined significantly, and into the more contested regions of Afghanistan, we can anticipate the insurgency will attempt to increase its attacks, primarily using IEDs and small arms fire, in order to continue to retain influence and safe havens."
Indeed, the vast majority of NATO ISAF troop deaths are caused by IEDs.
As a military blogger who posts virtually every death notice I receive from the Pentagon, I was stunned by the noticeable increase in the number of DoD casualty notices in recent weeks. I certainly hope July was an anomaly.