Two NATO soldiers killed in Afghanistan
A bomb blast in Afghanistan on Wednesday killed two soldiers in the NATO-led force deployed here to counter a Taliban insurgency, the military said, according to AFP.
"Two International Security Assistance Force service members were killed and six wounded in an IED (improvised explosive device) strike in southern Afghanistan this afternoon," ISAF said in a statement that gave no details.
Thousands of US soldiers have pushed into the south, notably Helmand and Kandahar provinces, as part of a renewed effort to defeat a Taliban-led insurgency which is its most intense in southern Afghanistan.
British and Canadian soldiers also serve in the south with soldiers from nearly 40 nations collected in the NATO-led force.
Wednesday's deaths would take to 158 the number of international soldiers to lose their lives in Afghanistan this year, most of them in attacks, according to icasualties.org which tracks the casualties.
There are nearly 90,000 foreign soldiers in the country, according to an estimate based on Pentagon figures.
The Taliban-led insurgency has intensified this year as Afghan and international troops launch operations to clear militants out of hotspots ahead of the August 20 presidential and provincial council elections.
There are concerns the violence may derail the elections and Afghanistan's partners are sending in thousands of military reinforcements.
This year has seen a 43 percent increase in the monthly average number of security incidents compared to last year, according to the United Nations.
The UN mission in Afghanistan recorded 800 civilian casualties to the end of May, a 24 percent increase over the same period in 2008, it said in a report delivered to the UN Security Council last week.