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Asia-pacific

Two US soldiers killed in bomb blasts

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-07-12

Two US soldiers were killed by roadside bombs in southern Afghanistan on Saturday, the latest casualties as NATO forces escalated their offensive against Taliban insurgents in the south of the country.

AFP - Two soldiers with the NATO-led force were killed in improvised bomb explosions in southern Afghanistan, the alliance said Sunday.
  
The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said the troopers were killed "as a result of improvised explosive device strikes from insurgents" on Saturday.
  
Separately, a US Force Afghanistan spokeswoman said both were US nationals.
  
The ISAF had initially said four soldiers had been killed but later corrected the figure, saying the deaths had been mistakenly double-counted.
  
"There was a mistake, the same incident was counted twice. Two ISAF US service members were killed by an IED," said a spokeswoman, referring to improvised explosive devices.
  
Another soldier died of wounds received in combat in Afghanistan last month, ISAF added.
  
It did not give the exact locations of the incidents.
  
The casualties follow the deaths on Thursday and Friday of eight British soldiers also deployed under NATO ISAF -- the deadliest 24-hour period for the British forces in decades.
  
The new fatalities come as about 4,000 US Marines, thousands of British troops and Afghan security forces battle their way into some of the most dangerous insurgent strongholds in the southern province of Helmand.
  
The operations are designed to clean out areas of rebels to allow Afghans to vote in presidential and provincial council elections due on August 20.
  
There are about 90,000 international troops, mainly US, British and Canadian, deployed in Afghanistan to help Kabul defeat an insurgency being waged by the remnants of the Taliban who were in power between 1996 and 2001.
  
Despite the presence of the international forces the Taliban have since managed to regroup in the form of an insurgency trying to topple the Western-backed government in Kabul.
  
The Taliban have gained pace every year, making the 2009 the deadliest for the mainly Western international force.
  
According to the independent www.icasualties-org website, which tracks military casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan, around 192 foreign soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan this year without counting the latest deaths.
  

Date created : 2009-07-12

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