Bomb Kills 5 NATO Soldiers in Afghanistan

Posted August 11th, 2011 at 10:05 am (UTC-5)
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A roadside bomb has killed five NATO service members in southern Afghanistan

The coalition says the soldiers were killed by an improvised explosive device on Thursday, but gave no other details. Another NATO soldier was killed by a roadside bomb in the region the day before.

Elsewhere in the south, Afghan officials say five police officers were killed after Taliban insurgents attacked their checkpoint in Helmand province late Wednesday.

Violence in Afghanistan remains at a high level nearly 10 years after the start of the war. Almost 390 foreign troops have been killed there so far this year, compared to 711 deaths in all of 2010.

Last week, 30 American and eight Afghan troops were killed when their CH-47 helicopter crashed after being shot at by Taliban insurgents in Tangi Valley in Wardak province.

The commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, General John Allen, said Wednesday that a precision air strike by coalition forces had killed several Taliban militants, including the insurgent who fired the fatal shot at the helicopter.

Taliban officials on Thursday denied that the militant responsible for the crash was killed, saying the fighter is “busy conducting jihad elsewhere.”

The crash last Saturday killed 17 Navy SEALS, five Navy special operations troops, three air force troops, and five Army members. Previous reports said that 22 SEALS were killed.

It was the worst loss of life for the United States in a single incident during the decade-long war in Afghanistan.

General Allen said a probe is under way to review the circumstances surrounding the crash. He noted that while a rocket-propelled grenade was at least partly to blame, small arms fire also may have played a role.

In Washington Wednesday, the Pentagon said U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has decided to release the names of the fallen American soldiers, despite objections from officers at U.S. Special Operations Command. Pentagon spokesman Colonel David Lapan said he expected the names to be published by Thursday.