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Bombs kill 6 NATO soldiers in Afghanistan

The attacks occur in southern Afghanistan, where most of the foreign forces are American or British.

August 11, 2011|By Laura King | Los Angeles Times
  • U.S. soldiers use a mine detector as they patrol with Afghan soldiers at the Mullah Omar mosque in Kandahar province, the heartland of the Taliban in southern Afghanistan.
U.S. soldiers use a mine detector as they patrol with Afghan soldiers at… (Romeo Gacad / AFP/Getty…)

Reporting from Kabul, Afghanistan — Insurgent bombs killed six Western soldiers on Thursday, the NATO force reported, five of those in a single attack.

All the deaths took place in southern Afghanistan, the Taliban movement's main base. The nationalities of those killed were not immediately disclosed, but most of the foreign forces serving in the south are American or British.

Improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, remain the biggest killer of Western troops in Afghanistan, despite coalition countermeasures such as improved equipment and more effective detection methods.

The five deaths in a single explosion Thursday were unusual but not unprecedented, as the Taliban and other insurgents have employed more and more powerful bombs in recent months.

Overall combat deaths in Afghanistan were lower in the first half of this year than the same period last year, but this month's toll jumped when 30 U.S. troops, many of them elite Navy SEALs, were killed when their Chinook helicopter was downed by insurgent fire on Aug. 6.

Prior to the latest deaths, 382 NATO troops had been killed so far this year, including 285 Americans, according to the independent Web monitor icasualties.org.

There are currently almost 100,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, making up more than two-thirds of the total North Atlantic Treaty Organization force. President Obama has ordered a drawdown of 10,000 American troops this year, with another 23,000 to follow next year.

laura.king@latimes.com

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