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8 US Soldiers, Afghan Civilian Killed in Southern Afghanistan

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A total of eight U.S. soldiers and an Afghan civilian working with them were killed Tuesday in a series of bomb attacks in southern Afghanistan.

A NATO statement said several troops also were wounded in the incidents. It gave no further details.

The deaths have made October the deadliest month for American forces since a U.S.-led invasion ousted the Taliban government in late 2001.

Also Tuesday, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said U.S. President Barack Obama will meet Friday with the Joint Chiefs of Staff to continue the assessment on Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Gibbs said the president is approaching the end of the review process and will take some time to think things through.

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In Luxembourg Tuesday, European Union foreign ministers agreed to increase civilian aid to Afghanistan despite concerns the situation there is deteriorating.

The foreign ministers expressed concern not only about the security situation, but also about the pace of political reforms in Afghanistan.

Foreign Minister Carl Bildt of Sweden, which holds the rotating EU presidency, announced the bloc would increase its support, including civilian aid, which currently totals about $1.5 billion annually.

The two-day EU meeting came as Afghanistan is preparing for a run-off presidential election on November 7 after the initial August 20 vote was marred by widespread fraud.

Also Tuesday, The Washington Post newspaper reported that an American diplomat serving in Afghanistan has become the first U.S. official known to resign in protest of the war. It says Matthew Hoh left his Foreign Service post in September, because he said he believes the war is fueling the insurgency.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.