Seven NATO troops killed in Afghan blasts
Kabul: Seven soldiers from the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) were killed in a roadside bombing in southern Afghanistan on Thursday, the military said.
"Seven International Security Assistance Force service members died following an improvised explosive device attack in southern Afghanistan today," ISAF said in a statement.
It did not say which country they were from, where they were killed or give further details of the incident, in line with policy.
However, a coalition official speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity said the deaths occurred in Shorabak district, Kandahar province, and came in two successive blasts in the same location.
The bombing caused the highest death toll for ISAF in a single incident since April 27, when nine Americans -- eight troops and a contractor -- were killed by an Afghan officer who opened fire at a Kabul military training centre.
At least 199 foreign troops have now been killed in Afghanistan this year, according to an AFP tally based on that kept by the independent website iCasualties.org.
Earlier Thursday, a NATO helicopter crashed in a mountainous area of eastern Afghanistan, killing one soldier.
There are around 130,000 ISAF service personnel in the war-torn country, around 90,000 of whom are from the United States.
Much of Afghanistan`s worst fighting takes place in the south of the country, particularly in the provinces of Kandahar and Helmand.
The Taliban announced the start of their spring fighting season at the end of April.
While international forces insist they have been taking the fight to insurgents throughout the winter, coming months will provide a key test of their ability to hold ground in the south taken from the Taliban last year following a troop surge.
The commander of foreign forces in Afghanistan, US General David Petraeus, warned in a memo released Saturday that they could face tough times ahead.
"It is likely that our enemies will pursue high-profile attacks this summer in an attempt to demonstrate continued capability," he said.
He added that this should be expected because of "progress" made in "important areas" since last year.
There has been a rash of insurgent attacks against forces loyal to President Hamid Karzai`s government in recent days, including a suicide attack on a Kabul military hospital Saturday which killed six medical students.
The war in Afghanistan is now approaching its tenth year.
It started when US-led forces invaded after the September 11, 2001 to topple the Taliban regime which had been harbouring Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, who was killed by US forces in Pakistan this month.
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