KABUL, Afghanistan, Jan. 1 (UPI) -- Casualties among U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan were lower in 2011 as an overall withdrawal picked up steam, statistics show.
Commanders said 417 Americans were killed last year compared to 499 in 2010 while the overall NATO death toll slid from 711 to 565.
The Los Angeles Times said Sunday that the latter part of 2011 was marked by the passage of several days at a time without a fatality.
Coalition officials have attributed the slowdown to past operations that have pushed the Taliban back and reduced their effectiveness. The Taliban, however, recently chided the United States for having lost its taste for combat and supposedly being less willing to go on the offensive.
The Times said Afghan troops have actually been taking up more of the heavy lifting, although there remain concerns about how effective they will be as their U.S. and European allies head home in increasing numbers in 2012.