U.S. combat troop deaths and other violence in Iraq are down significantly in some of the most dangerous places of insurgent activity, including Al Anbar province, military officials in Washington and Baghdad said Wednesday.
Maybe most significant was that last week there was not a single military casualty — Iraqi or U.S. — in Anbar, said Maj. Gen. Richard Sherlock, a Joint Chiefs spokesman. It is apparently the first time since March 2003 that could be said.
The numbers reflect the timeframe between mid-June — the peak of the troop surge President Bush announced in January — and the beginning of this week. The surge amounted to roughly 30,000 more troops in Iraq, hitting full-force with nearly 170,000 U.S. troops.
The numbers might be the most positive sign yet of progress against insurgent activity since January.
Sherlock also listed several other statistics that he said showed terrorist activity is decreasing:
— Violence in and around Baghdad is down 59 percent.
— Car bombs are down 65 percent.
— Casualties from car bombs and roadside bombs are down by 80 percent.
— Casualties from enemy attacks down 77 percent.
— Operations against Iraqi security forces are down 62 percent.
— Assassination attempts for sectarian reasons are down 72 percent.