BBC News | 31 August 2010 | 11:51 GMT
Five American soldiers have been killed in three separate bomb attacks in Afghanistan, NATO said. Home-made bombs, one of the main weapons of the Taliban, were used in the attacks in the east and south, it said. No other details were given. The attacks come a day after seven US soldiers were killed in two bomb attacks in southern Afghanistan. More than 480 foreign troops have been killed in Afghanistan this year, compared with 521 for all of 2009. Further losses are expected, says the BBC’s Quentin Sommerville from Bagram airbase in Afghanistan.
Our correspondent says homemade explosives kill more troops than anything else, and are also to blame for a dramatic rise in civilian casualties which are up 30% year on year. The summer has been particularly bloody for foreign troops with at least 115 deaths reported in the past two months. Meanwhile, the NATO commander in Afghanistan, Gen David Petraeus, said international forces had reversed some of the gains the Taliban had made in recent years in the southern provinces of Kandahar and Helmand. But, he added, the militants still retained the initiative in some parts of the country.
As more troops arrive in Afghanistan as part of the 30,000-strong surge promised by US President Obama, Gen Petraeus has warned that it will mean greater casualties. He said that as coalition forces pushed deeper into Taliban heartlands, the fighting would get tougher and that the losses – on both sides – would be heavier.