Two Nato soldiers killed in Afghanistan blast

KABUL: Two soldiers with Nato-led forces fighting Taliban-led insurgents were killed in a bomb explosion in southern Afghanistan, Nato said Monday.

“Two Isaf service members died following an IED (improvised explosive device) strike in southern Afghanistan yesterday (Sunday),” Nato’s International Security Assistance Force said.

The latest deaths took to 61 the number of the foreign soldiers killed in Afghanistan since the start of the year, according to an AFP count based on a tally kept by independent icasualties.org website.

Two Swedish army officers and an Afghan interpreter were also killed on Sunday when a patrol came under attack in near the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif, Sweden’s armed forces announced.

In 2009, the deadliest since the 2001 overthrow of the Taliban regime after a US-led invasion, 520 foreign soldiers lost their lives, compared to 295 the year before.

More than 110,000 international troops are in Afghanistan fighting the Taliban-led insurgents under US and Nato command, with another 40,000 arriving as part of a counter-insurgency strategy designed to bring an end to the war.

Thousands of Nato and Afghan troops are preparing to launch a massive operation against the Taliban in their biggest stronghold in the southern province of Helmand.

US General Stanley McChrystal, who commands foreign troops in Afghanistan, said on Sunday the operation aims to eradicate the Taliban threat and establish government control over the Majah region of the central Helmand River valley.

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