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Member of Afghan US-led force killed in clash

Written by: Staff
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KABUL, July 6 (Reuters) Gunmen attacked a patrol of US-led soldiers in eastern Afghanistan killing one member of the force, the latest foreign soldier to be killed in the bloodiest phase of Afghan violence since 2001.

The US military said the patrol came under small-arms fire in Paktika province, on the border with Pakistan, on Wednesday.

It did not give the nationality of the soldier who was killed but US forces are in charge in that area.

A British member of the force was killed in a clash in the southern province of Helmand, also on Wednesday.

Violence by Taliban rebels has surged in Afghanistan this year to its worst level since the militants were ousted nearly five years ago.

Most of the bloodshed has been in the south and east.

More than 1,200 people, most of them militants, have been killed in Afghanistan since January, among them 63 foreign troops, killed in combat or in accidents while on patrol.

The United States has 23,000 troops in Afghanistan, the most since its involvement began in 2001.

A separate NATO force will soon have about 16,000 soldiers in Afghanistan. It is due to take over from the US-led force in the volatile south at the end of this month.

REUTERS SK ND1404

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