KABUL (AFP) – Six NATO soldiers including three French service personnel have died over the last 24 hours in Afghanistan, NATO and the French authorities announced on Sunday.
"In several separate incidents, three International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) service members died as a result of enemy activity in southern Afghanistan and three ISAF service members died from a non-combat related incident in eastern Afghanistan in the last 24 hours," ISAF said in a statement.
In the first incident on Saturday, an American soldier died of wounds sustained when an improvised-explosive device (IED) detonated in southern Afghanistan, the force said.
A second US trooper died Saturday, also in the south, as a result of wounds suffered during an insurgent attack, the statement said.
An ISAF soldier whose nationality was not released died Sunday when an IED went off in southern Afghanistan.
The statement said further details would be withheld until next of kin had been notified.
The south is the most violent part of Afghanistan and foreign forces have suffered heavy losses recently in the provinces of Helmand and Kandahar, bastions of the Taliban insurgency.
The three French soldiers were killed in a lightning storm during an operation targeting Taliban bomb squads in the east, the French military said on Sunday.
One was killed by lightning and two others drowned, said Admiral Christophe Prazuck, spokesman for the French armed forces general staff.
They were part of a 250-troop operation hunting fighters responsible for planting roadside bombs in the Afghanya Valley east of Kabul, the spokesman said.
France has now lost 34 soldiers in Afghanistan, where it has 2,900 troops in the NATO-led coalition battling Taliban guerrillas and training Afghanistan's national security forces.
This year has been the deadliest for foreign troops in Afghanistan since US forces ousted the Taliban from Kabul following the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States.
Some 376 foreign soldiers, including 220 Americans, have died so far, with 294 killed in all of 2008, according to an AFP count relying on the independent http://www.icasualties.org website.
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