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US, other foreign soldier, die in Afghan clash

Written by: Staff
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KABUL, Mar 29 (Reuters) Insurgents in Afghanistan attacked US-led forces today and two foreign troops and at least 12 militants were killed, the US military said.

The Taliban said their fighters had attacked the foreign troops in the southern province of Helmand.

One of the foreign troops killed was American. The US military did not identify the nationality of the second who died in the attack by a ''significant'' insurgent force.

''Coalition forces employed a variety of combined arms to include close air support and are believed to have killed at least a dozen enemy insurgents,'' the US military said in a statement.

Violence has intensified in recent months and the Taliban have vowed to launch a spring offensive as part of their campaign to oust foreign forces and the Western-backed government.

Twelve US troops have been killed in fighting this year.

Nearly 60 Americans were killed in Afghan fighting last year, the worst for US forces since they invaded in 2001 to oust the Taliban.

Despite the rising level of violence, the United States is hoping to trim its force of more than 18,000 troops in Afghanistan by several thousand, while NATO partners, including Britain, Canada and the Netherlands are sending about 6,000 more.

British troops are based in Helmand but a spokesman for the force said he had no information about Wednesday's fighting.

Canadian troops are also based in the volatile Afghan south. A Canadian spokesman was not available for comment.

Three members of the US-led force and one Afghan soldier were wounded, the US military said.

REUTERS SB KP1018

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