Roadside Blasts Kill NATO Troops in Afghanistan

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More than 100 NATO troops have lost their lives in Afghanistan this year, and the violence this week highlights a growing problem.

Six Canadian NATO troops were killed by a roadside bomb Wednesday, and a NATO soldier killed Thursday likely was an American.

Taliban fighters are using the guerrilla tactics of insurgents in Iraq. They're planting roadside bombs – IEDs, as the U.S. military calls them, or improvised explosive devices.

A convoy traveling in eastern Afghanistan on Thursday struck a roadside bomb, killing one soldier and injuring two others.

Reporting from Afghanistan, NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson tells Robert Siegel that it's NATO's policy not to identify the nationality of a soldier who is killed. But the attack occurred where mainly Americans troops are based, Nelson says.

In Wednesday's incident, six Canadians and their interpreter were killed while heading back to Kandahar city.

The Taliban is increasing its presence and activities, spreading across parts of Afghanistan. They've been adopting al-Qaida tactics: using civilians as human shields and conducting suicide bombings that also kill Afghan troops who are working with NATO troops.

Civilians in the south and east are so frightened, they go along with whomever holds a gun to their heads, Nelson reports. And NATO faces a special challenge in that the Taliban are intertwined with civilians – and NATO troops end up inadvertently killing civilians, which does not help foster goodwill among Afghans for Western forces.

NATO is trying to rectify that, engaging local councils and trying to bridge the gap and convince Afghans that the mission there remains important enough for them to stay.



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