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AFP, June 27, 2010

NATO soldier killed in record month in Afghanistan

In all, 311 soldiers have died in Afghanistan so far this year

KABUL — NATO reported on Sunday the 91st foreign soldier killed in what has been a record month for international troop deaths in Afghanistan.

In other violence, more than two dozen rebels were killed across the troubled nation, authorities said separately.

Troops suffer from stress and commit suicide
The department estimates that there are 950 suicide attempts every month by veterans who are receiving treatment from the department. Of these, 7 percent succeed in taking their own lives, while 11 percent try to kill themselves again within nine months.

The soldier was killed by a Taliban-style improvised explosive device (IED) in the south of the country on Saturday, NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said.

It came after NATO had already reported on Saturday the killing of five other soldiers in similar attacks in the volatile south.

The soldiers' nationalities were not disclosed, but the vast majority of foreign troops in Afghanistan are from the United States and the US is bearing the overwhelming burden of deaths.

The ISAF report follows an announcement by Britain's defence ministry that one of its soldiers had died Saturday after being wounded by an explosion in the south two weeks ago.

In all, 311 soldiers have died in Afghanistan so far this year, with the June toll by far the deadliest of any month since the war began in late 2001.

AFP tolls are based on a tally kept by the independent website icasualties.org.

The deaths come amid heightened questioning of the war effort following last week's sacking of the top US military officer in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, after an inflammatory magazine profile.

The United Nations said this month that IED attacks had escalated 94 percent in the first four months of this year compared to the same period last year.

Most of the deaths are caused by IEDs, which are cheap and easy to make and often detonated remotely with deadly accuracy. Survivors often suffer life-changing injuries.

Many of the IEDs are made using munitions left over from Afghanistan's decades of conflicts and sometimes kill those making them.

Eight Arabs, five Pakistanis and two Afghans were killed on Friday when an IED exploded while they were producing them, the interior ministry said.

The ministry said the rebels had gathered in a mosque in the eastern province of Paktia to build the devices. Foreigners, including Arabs and Pakistanis with links to Al-Qaeda, are helping the Taliban in their insurgency, according to Afghan intelligence officials.

Police in western Afghanistan said more than a dozen other rebels had been killed in fighting with Afghan and international forces, mostly on Saturday.

Ten rebels were killed in a gunfight with NATO-led troops in the northwestern province of Badghis while four others were killed after attacking a police convoy transporting captured militants in neighbouring Farah province the same day, Abdul Rauf Ahmadi, western Afghanistan police spokesman told AFP.

The US and NATO have 140,000 troops in Afghanistan, set to peak at 150,000 by August, as the allies aim to escalate efforts to drive the Taliban from their heartland in the southern provinces of Kandahar and Helmand.

Category: US-NATO - Views: 7422