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Our view: Sad milestone for our troops

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.

While international participation in Afghanistan is drawing down, tens of thousands of our soldiers remain in harm’s way helping to train 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.

It’s a disturbing trend.

“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” 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.”

About 68,000 U.S. troops remain in Afghanistan after 33,000 withdrew just last month. We thank them for their service, and wish them safe returns.

McHenry County has lost four brave men in Afghanistan. Army Spc. Lukasz D. Saczek of Lake in the Hills (died May 10, 2009); Army Sgt. Jason A. McLeod of Crystal Lake (died Nov. 23, 2009); Marine Staff Sgt. Christopher Antonik, 29, of Crystal Lake (died July 11, 2010), and Marine Capt. Nathan R. McHone, 29, of Crystal Lake (died Jan. 19, 2012) all gave their lives while fighting to protect our freedom and national security.

We honor them for making the ultimate sacrifice in defense of their country.

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