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2 NATO Soldiers Killed in Afghanistan War Attacks, January 1, 2011

First British soldier of 2011 killed in Afghanistan

Sun Jan 2, 2011, 5:51 am ET

LONDON (AFP)

The first British soldier to die in Afghanistan this year was killed in an explosion on New Year's Day, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said Sunday.

A total of 103 British soldiers were killed in operations last year, the second bloodiest on record for British troops following the 108 killed in 2009 -- more than double the 2008 toll.

The rate of British troops being killed has dropped since September 2010 when they handed over to US forces in the flashpoint market town of Sangin in the restive southern Helmand province.

The soldier killed Saturday was from The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, 5th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland.

He was caught in an explosion while on an operation to interdict enemy fighters in the Nahr-e Saraj area of Helmand, the MoD said.

"He was part of an operation aiming to bring peace and prosperity to the people of a former insurgent haven, and has made the ultimate sacrifice in seeking a better life for others," said Task Force Helmand spokesman Lieutenant Colonel David Eastman.

The death brings to 349 the number of British troops killed since operations in Afghanistan began in October 2001. Of these, at least 308 were killed through hostile action.

Britain has around 9,500 troops in Afghanistan, largely battling Taliban militants in Helmand.

Two troops die in Afghanistan on first day of 2011

 Sat Jan 1, 2011, 2:24 pm ET

KABUL (AFP)

Two foreign soldiers were killed Saturday in Afghanistan, coalition forces said, in the year's first deaths among NATO-led foreign forces after the war's highest-ever annual death toll in 2010.

"An International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) service member died following an improvised explosive device attack in southern Afghanistan today," the NATO-led ISAF said in a statement, without giving further information in line with policy.

Later, it issued a second statement saying that another service member had died "following an insurgent attack". That death also came in volatile southern Afghanistan, the heart of the conflict where Taliban insurgents are strongest.

In 2010, a total of 711 international troops were killed in Afghanistan, according to independent website iCasualties -- the highest annual death toll since the war began in 2001.

A limited, conditions-based withdrawal of international troops is expected to start in July this year ahead of a transfer of responsibility for security to Afghan forces in 2014.

There are around 140,000 international troops fighting the Taliban-led insurgency in Afghanistan, around two-thirds of them from the United States.




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