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Five US troops killed in Afghanistan

Five US troops were killed in Afghanistan today, the latest casualties in a savage spell that has left 19 dead since Saturday.





Nato said four troops were killed by a roadside bomb in eastern Afghanistan, while a fifth died in a battle with insurgents in the country's south.

The deaths bring this month's total to 55, still below the figure of 66 for July, the deadliest month for US troops in Afghanistan since the 2001 invasion.

Almost all of the recent coalition deaths have come in southern and eastern Afghanistan where the Taliban is most deeply entrenched and where fighting has been heaviest.

Those areas are also closest to the mountainous border with Pakistan, where insurgents maintain safe havens and training bases to instruct recruits, including foreign fighters, who are later infiltrated into Afghanistan.

Nato commanders have warned casualties will mount as coalition and Afghan forces enter areas under Taliban control, particularly in the hard-line Islamic movement's spiritual heartland of Kandahar province.

The Nato force swelled this month to more than 140,000 - including 100,000 Americans - with the arrival of the last of the reinforcements that President Barack Obama ordered to Afghanistan in a bid to turn the tide of the nearly nine-year war.

Also today, the coalition said it killed two insurgents and wounded a third in an airstrike yesterday on a Taliban commander in charge of logistics in Kandahar, including the co-ordination of homemade bomb attacks.

Taliban and allied Haqqani Network commanders were also detained in operations Monday, including one recently returned from teaching bomb-making techniques in Pakistan.

In Zabul province bordering Kandahar, insurgents yesterday ambushed a convoy carrying food and other supplies, killing two private security guards and wounding five others, provincial government spokesman Mohammad Jan Rasoolyar said.

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