KABUL (Reuters) – Six members of the NATO-led military force in Afghanistan were killed on Monday in two battles with insurgents and a roadside bomb attack, making it one of the bloodiest days for foreign troops in months.
Three Americans were killed in a battle in the south of the country, the NATO-led force said. In a separate clash in the east, one soldier was killed and another died later of serious wounds, it said, without identifying their nationality.
The sixth was killed by a roadside bomb in the south of the country, NATO said, also without identifying the nationality.
At least one of the two killed in the east was French. President Nicolas Sarkozy’s office said one French soldier was killed in the clash in the Alasay valley northeast of Kabul, and another seriously wounded. The valley saw fighting last year between insurgents and French troops under U.S.-led NATO command.
Last year was by far the deadliest year of the Afghan war for Western forces. As many Western troops were killed in Afghanistan in 2009 as in the entire period from 2001-2006.
Fighting, which normally abates once heavy snowfalls arrive, has continued this year because of an unusually mild winter.
U.S. President Barack Obama is sending in 30,000 extra troops as part of his new war strategy, to try to turn the tide. Other NATO countries are sending thousands more as well, although some are scaling down.