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Daily Jang, Pakistan

2,676 Suicides of American Soldiers

By Munu Bhai

Translated By Farina Abrejo and Mariam Khalid

4 January 2013

Edited by Drue Fergison

Pakistan - Daily Jang - Original Article (Urdu)

It has been said that from 2001 to 2013, the world’s most terrifying combat power in the history of mankind, and the only super power in the world, America, has lost 1,950 soldiers in its war on terror in the world’s weakest and the most underdeveloped country, Afghanistan. However, after Navy SEAL W. Price’s apparent suicide, the number of American soldiers who committed suicide during this period in Afghanistan reached 2,676. This means that 726 more soldiers committed suicide than were killed on active duty in Afghanistan.

This statistic is submitted by an Afghan woman, Ms. Sabina Khan, a researcher at the Monterey Institute of International Studies in America, who is a native of South Waziristan and has a Master’s in Conflict Resolution. According to her, American soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan have committed suicide every 27 hours. Every 11 to 20 soldiers out of 100 who have killed themselves have shown symptoms of mental illness in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Because of the increasing rate of suicide among soldiers, the Pentagon is spending one fourth of its total $54 billion dollar medical budget to treat the rising issue of mental health disorders among soldiers.

The United States Armed Forces asked the U.S. Air Force to determine the intensity of mental, psychological and emotional pressure on soldiers fighting in other countries thousands of miles away from their homes. The U.S. Air Force concluded in its research that these soldiers experience 17 to 30 percent more stress, which becomes increasingly unbearable over time. In this scenario, soldiers lose their mental balance and become suicidal.

It is also said that the staff responsible for drone attacks also bears 17 percent more emotional pressure, even though drone attacks are merely like video games for the U.S. Air Force. But, to be thousands of miles away from home, in a battleground with enemy forces, will definitely intensify these psychological issues. And then also, not being with their family and friends, sometimes for more than 10 years, deteriorates their psychological condition.

The Pakistani military doesn’t have the advanced military weapons that the U.S military does, and has lost more soldiers (more than 3,570), but because these soldiers live close to their homes and families, this war has not affected them as much psychologically. According to Sabina Khan, the war in Afghanistan and Iraq has severely affected the American soldiers. One reason for this could be because of the international pressure that wants to solve this issue peacefully. The American soldiers cannot ignore the fact that one million forty thousand innocent people have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan during the last twelve years, and the fact that these soldiers were part of this genocide may also lead them [the soldiers] to commit suicide. Besides this, the questions of when and how they will return to their homes and loved ones continuously overwhelm these soldiers psychologically.



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