Two more American troops were killed in Afghanistan on Tuesday, the military said, just a day after 10 NATO troops were killed in a string of attacks.
The latest deaths came as insurgents step up bombings and other attacks ahead of a major NATO operation in the Taliban heartland of Kandahar that Washington hopes will turn the tide of the war.
Ten NATO troops were killed Monday in bombings and shootings in eastern and southern Afghanistan, military officials said, in the deadliest day for the U.S.-led international forces this year.
Seven American troops, two Australians and a French Legionnaire were killed in five separate insurgent attacks in the south and east end of the country.
Also on Monday, two people, including an American civilian contractor, were killed when three suicide bombers launched a coordinated attack at a police training center in Kandahar city, officials said. The attacks underscored the dangers U.S. forces face as 30,000 additional troops are being deployed to Afghanistan to fight a resurgent Taliban movement.
The days deadliest attack occurred in eastern Afghanistan, where an improvised explosive device killed five troops, NATO military authorities said. A sixth service member was fatally shot in eastern Afghanistan, NATO authorities said. The military command in eastern Afghanistan is predominantly American. Military officials say there has been a spike this year in roadside bombs in that region.
Meanwhile, two service members were killed in separate bombings, and one was fatally shot in southern Afghanistan, the most dangerous part of the country for foreign troops in recent months.
President Obama ordered the troop surge in an effort to secure Taliban strongholds, primarily in the south. Training police in Kandahar province has emerged as a top priority for U.S. officials.
Afghan officials said a suicide bomber rammed a vehicle into the outer wall of the police center, paving the way for two other suicide bombers on foot to run inside, according to the AP.
Monday was the deadliest day for NATO since Oct. 26, when 11 American troops were killed, including seven who died in a helicopter crash in eastern Afghanistan. The crash was not believed to be a result of hostile fire.
Afghans were also caught up in Monday’s wave of violence. Five Afghan private security guards were killed and four others wounded in a roadside bomb blast in eastern Ghazni province, the Interior Ministry said. Two Afghan security guards were killed and two wounded in a gunfight with insurgents in another part of the province, it said in a statement.
A Canadian soldier, Sgt. Martin Goudreault, was killed Sunday by an improvised explosive device, becoming the 147th Canadian Forces member to die in Afghanistan since the military began its combat mission in 2002.
Fifty-three percent of Americans say the war in Afghanistan is not worth fighting, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll released Monday – an increase of one percentage point from a poll conducted in April. Forty percent say the war is worth fighting. Meanwhile, 42 percent of respondents said the United States is winning the war, while 39 percent said America is losing.
U.S. commanders have warned of more casualties as the alliance gears up for a major operation to secure Kandahar, a city with a half million people.
Through June 6, a total of 1,812 NATO soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan since the American-led invasion that ousted the Taliban from power in 2001, 1,020 of them Americans. This year, 245 NATO soldiers have died in Afghanistan, 153 of them Americans, as of June 6. In Iraq, 150 American soldiers died in 2009, and 32 so far this year.