Seven U.S. Troops Killed in One of Deadliest Days Since Afghanistan War Began

July 7, 2009 - 5:24 AM
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Afghan National Army soldiers and U.S. Marines from the 2nd MEB, 1st Battalion 5th Marines patrol in the Nawa district of Afghanistan's Helmand province Monday July 6, 2009. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)

Kabul (AP) - Bombs and bullets killed seven American troops while three NATO troops died in a helicopter crash in one of the deadliest days for foreign troops in Afghanistan since the U.S.-led invasion in 2001, officials said Tuesday.
 
Four of the deaths Monday came in an attack on a team of U.S. military trainers in the relatively peaceful north, Navy Chief Petty Officer Brian Naranjo, a U.S. military spokesman. The deaths brought into focus the question of whether the U.S. is committing enough troops to secure a country larger than Iraq in both population and land mass.
 
Separately, Taliban militants claimed on a militant Web site that they were holding an American soldier whom the U.S. military says insurgents might have captured last week. The Taliban statement, however, did not include any proof, such as a picture or the soldier's name.
 
Obama has ordered 21,000 additional American troops to this country, mainly in the south where Taliban militants have made a violent comeback after a U.S.-led coalition topped them from power in late 2001. The U.S. expects 68,000 troops here by year's end, double last year's total but still half as many as now in Iraq.
 
Two Americans were killed in a roadside blast in southern Afghanistan, Naranjo said. And another American soldier died of wounds in a Monday firefight with militants in the east, a U.S. military spokesman said. There were no further details on those incidents in the south and the east.
 
It was the deadliest day for American troops in Afghanistan since July 13, 2008, when 10 soldiers were killed -- nine of them when militants using small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades attacked a remote outpost in the village of Wanat near the Pakistani border.
 
Also in the south, two Canadian and a Briton serving with the NATO-led force were killed Monday when their helicopter crashed in Zabul province, said a spokesman for the military alliance, Lt. Commander Chris Hall.
 
The incident was not caused by insurgent fire, Hall said.