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Two American troops killed in Afghan attacks

Two American troops died in fighting in Afghanistan today, while NATO said it had killed the leader of an insurgent cell responsible for laying roadside bombs and smuggling foreign fighters into the country.

world Updated: Sep 02, 2010 14:57 IST

Two American troops died in fighting in Afghanistan today, while NATO said it had killed the leader of an insurgent cell responsible for laying roadside bombs and smuggling foreign fighters into the country.

NATO said one service member was killed in the country's east, the other in the south regions where fighting between
the coalition and Taliban insurgents has been at its most intense. No other details were given in keeping with standard
NATO procedure.

The deaths bring to three the number of US service members killed in September and follows a spike in casualties
during the last two weeks of August that saw the monthly total rise to 55. The August figure was still below the back-to-back monthly records of 66 in July and 60 in June.

NATO said a tip had led its forces to the Taliban commander as he was riding a motorcycle in the eastern
province of Paktika near the mountainous border with Pakistan, where insurgents maintain a number of safe havens.

After killing the commander with a precision air strike, NATO said it dispatched ground forces to the site where they
found weapons and materials for making roadside bombs. One other insurgent was killed and one detained after the ground force later moved in on a compound frequented by the Taliban commander.

The commander was not identified by name and it wasn't clear how many fighters he controlled.

Paktika is one of several eastern provinces where the Taliban and its allies maintain cross-border routes to smuggle
in weapons and other supplies, along with militants, many of them linked to al-Qaeda, who are recruited from their
homelands in the Persian Gulf, North Africa and further afield to come to fight in Afghanistan.