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200 NATO troops die this year

delhi Updated: May 17, 2010 16:43 IST
AFP
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Two hundred NATO soldiers have died during the war in Afghanistan so far this year, according to an AFP count based on the icasualties website and following the killing of two Italians on Monday.

The Italians were killed and two others wounded when a bomb hit a NATO military convoy in northwestern Afghanistan, Italy's foreign ministry said.

The four were in a vehicle that was struck by a roadside bomb, the weapon of choice of Taliban-led insurgents fighting the Western-backed Afghan government and around 130,000 US-led foreign troops in the country.

The attack was about 25 kilometres (15.5 miles) south of the town of Bala Murghab on the border with Turkmenistan, a spokesman for the Italian contingent in Afghanistan said in a television interview.

Italy has 3,300 troops in Afghanistan as part of NATO's International Security Assistance Force and heads the western regional command headquartered in the city of Herat.

In southern Afghanistan, two NATO soldiers died on Sunday -- one of injuries sustained from a bomb attack on May 14 and the second in an "insurgent attack".

The latest deaths brought to 200 the number of foreign troops to die this year during the Afghan war, according to an AFP tally based on that kept by the independent icasualties.org website.

A total of 520 died in 2009, which was the deadliest overall year so far for US-led NATO troops in the nine-year war in Afghanistan.

NATO and the United States are set to boost their overall number of troops in Afghanistan to 150,000 by August as part of a last-ditch strategy to reverse the Taliban momentum and allow American forces to start withdrawing next year.

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