5 US troops die in blasts in southern Afghanistan
Kabul: Five American troops died on Saturday in bombings in southern Afghanistan where international forces
are stepping up the fight against the Taliban, officials said.
Four of the victims died in a single blast, NATO said in a statement without specifying nationalities nor providing further details. A fifth service member was killed in a
separate attack in the south, NATO said.
US officials confirmed all five were Americans. The
officials spoke on condition of anonymity under rules
regarding casualty identification.
The latest deaths bring to 75 the number of
international troops killed in Afghanistan this month,
including 56 Americans.
The US-led force is ramping up operations against the
Taliban in their southern strongholds, hoping to enable the
Afghan government to expand its control in the volatile
Rising casualty tolls, however, are eroding support
for the war even as President Barack Obama has send thousands
of reinforcements to try to turn back the Taliban.
On Tuesday, an international conference in Kabul
endorsed President Hamid Karzai`s plan for Afghan security
forces to assume responsibility for protecting the country by
the end of 2014. Obama has pledged to begin removing US troops
starting in July 2011, although he has linked the drawdown to
security conditions on the ground.
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