KABUL, Afghanistan — Over the last 26 days, something unusual has happened in Afghanistan: Not one U.S. service member has been killed. The lion’s share of the fighting — and dying — is now being done by Afghans.

The last American troop death, from injuries suffered in a December roadside bombing, occurred Jan. 20, marking the longest stretch without a fatality since 2008 and offering a glimmer of evidence that the United States’ 11-year war is in its twilight.

Deaths among U.S. troops in Afghanistan last year reached a four-year low as commanders hailed a tipping point in a conflict that has claimed more than 2,100 American lives.

With President Obama planning to bring home half the remaining 66,000 troops by next February and the rest by the end of 2014, the shrinking American death toll has bolstered his administration’s contention that the Taliban-led insurgency is degraded and that Afghan forces are ready to take charge of their country’s security.

Read more in Saturday’s Arizona Daily Star and at azstarnet.com