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THE STANS
200 NATO troops die in Afghanistan this year

Two Italian soldiers killed in Afghanistan
Rome (AFP) May 17, 2010 - Two Italian soldiers were killed and two others were seriously injured on Monday when a bomb hit a NATO military convoy in northwestern Afghanistan, Italy's foreign ministry told AFP. 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. Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi expressed his condolences for the deaths but underscored his commitment to keeping troops in Afghanistan. "The mission in Afghanistan to stabilise and pacify a strategic region is of fundamental importance" he said in a statement. The lives of the injured were not in danger.

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. The deaths brought to 200 the number of foreign troops to die this year in 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. Twenty-three Italian soldiers and one diplomat have died since the beginning of the mission. The Taliban were removed from government in Afghanistan a US-led invasion in 2001.
by Staff Writers
Kabul (AFP) May 17, 2010
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 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.

earlier related report
NATO: need for trainers in Afghanistan 'top priority'
Washington (AFP) May 17, 2010 - NATO may need hundreds of extra military trainers in Afghanistan next year beyond the 450 more already required to train the Afghan army and police, the US admiral who is NATO's supreme commander said Monday.

By 2011, the police and army in Afghanistan are supposed to number a total 300,000, up from 200,000 now.

"We need more trainers. It's my top priority," James Stavridis, NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe, said in a statement from the Defence Planning Committee of the world's biggest military alliance.

"We need about 5,200 people" in total, he said.

In a meeting with defense reporters he said that he needed "about 450" who had yet to be committed or sent.

In addition "there might be a few hundred more needed by early next year" on top of the 5,200, he said.



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THE STANS
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