News / Asia

Day of Violence in Afghanistan Kills 7 NATO Soldiers

U.S. and NATO military officials say a day of violence in Afghanistan Thursday has left seven soldiers dead.

U.S. officials say a roadside bomb killed five U.S. soldiers in southern Afghanistan. Another NATO soldier was killed in southern Afghanistan by a Taliban attack and a seventh soldier died in a blast in eastern Afghanistan.

Elsewhere in the south, Afghan officials say five Afghan police officers were killed Wednesday when Taliban insurgents attacked their checkpoint in Helmand province.

Violence in Afghanistan remains at a high level nearly 10 years after the start of the war. Almost 390 foreign troops have been killed so far this year, compared to 711 deaths in all of 2010.

Last week, 30 American and eight Afghan troops were killed when their CH-47 helicopter crashed after being shot at by Taliban insurgents in Tangi Valley in Wardak province. It was the deadliest single incident for U.S. forces since the war started.

The commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, General John Allen, said Wednesday that a precision air strike by coalition forces killed several Taliban militants, including the insurgent who fired the fatal shot at the helicopter. Taliban officials on Thursday denied that the militant responsible for the crash was killed, saying the fighter is "busy conducting jihad elsewhere."

The crash last Saturday killed 17 Navy SEALS, five Navy special operations troops, three Air Force special operations personnel, and five members of the Army. Previous reports said that 22 SEALS were killed.

Thursday, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta released the names of the American service members killed in the crash. Officers at the U.S. Special Operations Command objected to announcing the names because of security concerns.

A probe is under way to review the circumstances of the helicopter crash. General Allen said a rocket-propelled grenade was at least partly to blame, but said small arms fire also may have played a role.

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

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