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Fallen but not forgotten: 'They're at risk as well'

By John Rutherford, Producer, NBC News, Washington

The deaths of 10 French soldiers last week in Afghanistan is a reminder that Americans aren't the only ones fighting and dying in that increasingly violent war.

Our allies from 22 other nations have suffered 24 of the 42 casualties so far this month and 364 of the 944 casualties since the war began in 2001.

"Everyone's got a chance to get attacked," MSNBC military analyst Jack Jacobs said, "and everyone's got a chance to attack the bad guys."

Generally speaking, Col. Jacobs said, the allied troops aren't as good militarily as the Americans, but they're nevertheless pulling their weight.

"The other countries do want to help," he said in a recent interview. "I mean, after all, they're at risk as well from the Taliban and al Qaeda."

Col. Jacobs expects the U.S. will soon begin pulling troops out of Iraq and into Afghanistan, but he doesn't anticipate a similar buildup of allied forces.

"I'd be terribly surprised if there'll be a substantial increase from any of the allied countries," he said. "Our allies' armies are very small and are not rich with counterinsurgency capability. The preponderance of forces will come from the United States."

I asked a soldier receiving a Purple Heart for wounds suffered in Iraq if he believes it's a good time to begin transferring U.S. troops from Iraq to Afghanistan.

Solidier Wounded In Iraq Recieves Purple Heart At Walter Reed Hospital"I would think so," Army Sgt. Russell Broughton II, 27, of Monrovia, Ind., said last Friday at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He was wounded June 8 by an explosion at his forward operating base in Al Jour, Iraq.

"Afghanistan is where the real fight's at," Sgt. Broughton said. "I think the Iraqis are ready to take care of themselves and try to make their own sovereign nation without our aid anymore."

If more troops are sent to Afghanistan, Sgt. Broughton won't be one of them. Married with two children, he plans to leave the Army as soon as his enlistment is up. He's already served three tours in Iraq, and this is the second time he's been wounded.

(Top photo: French armored vehicle races to scene of ambush in which 10 French soldiers were killed in Afghanistan, Aug. 19 [AP Photo]. Bottom photo: I interview Sgt. Russell Broughton II at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Aug. 22 [Getty Photo]).

Click here to view tributes to the 348 U.S. service members killed this year in Iraq and Afghanistan, including the following seven casualties from last week:

1. Army Pfc. Jonathan Luscher, 20, of Scranton, Pa.

2. Marine Lance Cpl. Travis Stottlemyer, 20, of Hatfield, Pa.

3. Marine Sgt. Nickolas Lee Hopper, 27, of Montrose, Ill.

4. Army Sgt. 1st Class George Stanciel, 40, of Greenwood, Miss.

5. Army Sgt. 1st Class David Todd Jr., 36, of Marrero, La.

6. Army Staff Sgt. David Paquet, 26, of Rising Sun, Md.

7. Army Staff Sgt. Brian Studer, 28, of Roseau, Minn.

Washington Producer John Rutherford is a decorated Vietnam veteran. He also posts stories on the military at www.fieldnotes.msnbc.com (click on "John Rutherford" under "categories") and at http://john-rutherford.newsvine.com. The tribute gallery can be found at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22802019/.