Friday, September 18, 2009

Wire: Bombs Kill US, Canadian Troops in Afghanistan

Off the Wire

Off the Wire:

WASHINGTON, Sept. 18, 2009 -- Newswire services this morning reported that a U.S. servicemember and a Canadian soldier died in separate roadside bomb explosions in southern Afghanistan, officials said Friday, announcing new deaths on a day that claimed the lives of a total of nine international troops.

The Associated Press reported that the American and Canadian died Thursday, the same day a car bomber killed six Italian troops in a brazen attack in the heavily guarded capital of Kabul.

A NATO soldier also died Thursday of wounds from an earlier attack, adding to the toll in the deadliest year yet for the international forces in Afghanistan.

The resurgent Taliban has increased attacks sharply this year ahead of last month's presidential election and with the arrival of 21,000 more American troops. The Islamist extremists run a shadow government in the south and launch guerrilla attacks elsewhere, AP said.

U.S. military spokeswoman Capt. Elizabeth Mathias said the American died when his patrol struck a bomb planted in the road. She did not provide his name.

The U.S. and NATO have a record number of troops in Afghanistan -- nearly 100,000 in total -- and the top commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, AP reported, is likely to soon request thousands more.

President Barack Obama continues to hold off on a decision to send more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, exasperating lawmakers who say his administration's road map for winning the war amounts to too little, too late.

The White House's newly released list of benchmarks for grading U.S. progress in the war focuses heavily on Pakistan, AP said.

(Report from newswire sources.)

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