Sunday, October 17, 2010

Afghan 2010 troop death toll reaches 593

KABUL — The toll of foreign troops killed in Afghanistan this year crept closer to 600 Sunday with the death of a NATO soldier in a Taliban-style attack in southern Afghanistan, the alliance said.

The soldier, whose nationality was not given, died "following an improvised explosive device attack," NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said, referring to remote-controlled bombs widely used by the insurgents.

The death brings to 593 the total number of foreign soldiers to die so far this year in the Afghan war, according to an AFP tally based on the independent icasualities.org website. The total last year was 521.

The United States and NATO have more than 150,000 troops in Afghanistan fighting the nine-year Taliban-led insurgency, which aims to topple the country's Western-backed democracy.

The rebels have stepped up attacks every year since the Taliban regime was toppled in a US-led invasion in late 2001.

As part of a counter-insurgency strategy arrived at late last year, Washington deployed an extra 30,000 reinforcements, with NATO contributing an additional 10,000 soldiers.

Many of the new deployments are currently engaged in what is seen as a key push against the Taliban in their southern heartland of Kandahar, where the insurgency is at its fiercest.

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