Pakistani military sources said overnight gun battles between government forces and Islamist militants, most of whom came from Afghanistan, left six troopers and 40 militants dead in the Mohmand border area.
Two American soldiers were killed in a suicide attack on Thursday in the southern province of Kandahar, while a separate suicide bomb claimed six lives in a food market on the Iranian border. The Taliban took responsibility for the first blast.
Up to 30,000 US soldiers will join NATO forces in the restive south of Afghanistan in the spring, where coalition troops have been stretched by growing Taliban resistance. Building work to accommodate them has already begun at Kandahar military HQ.
A suicide bomber killed 16 people, including 14 children, and wounded dozens more in eastern Afghanistan on Sunday, a day after an explosion in the southern province of Kandahar killed two Canadian soldiers and two Afghans.
Security officials say two US missiles struck targets near the Pakistan border with Afghanistan, killing at least eight people. US strikes in the area, considered a hub of militant activity, are heightening tensions between Washington and Islamabad.
Afghanistan has welcomed an announcement that the United States will send up to 30,000 more troops to the country, but has asked that the additional forces be deployed where most needed and that they help train Afghan forces.
Chairman Mike Mullen (pictured) of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff says the United States will send between 20,000 and 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan by the summer of 2009. The first 3,000 are scheduled for deployment in January.