(WASHINGTON) — As Afghan forces take the lead in fighting the Taliban, the U.S. military has just experienced its lowest death toll over a three-month span since late 2008 and early 2009.
According to Pentagon figures released on Thursday, three American soldiers died in Afghanistan last month, the fewest amount of U.S. fatalities since December 2008.
Overall, 30 American troops were killed in Afghanistan from November of last year through January.
This sharp drop-off in casualties reflects the change in strategy that puts Afghan national forces on the front line, with U.S. troops acting in more back-up roles.
The plan announced by President Obama in January is to have Afghan security personnel doing all the fighting by the end of this spring, with the U.S. and NATO forces on track to withdraw a majority of their soldiers by sometime next year.
The lower U.S. death toll may also have to do with the particularly harsh winters in Afghanistan when the Taliban traditionally limits its attacks.
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Eliza Mackintosh, CNN
Joe Sterling and Darran Simon, CNN
Samantha Beech, CNN