Rabu, Juni 09, 2010

NATO Helicopter Shot Down in Afghanistan

A medevac helicopter lifts off from Camp Nathan Smith in Kandahar city, carrying an unidentified NATO soldier

Militants in Afghanistan have shot down a helicopter, killing four NATO troops.

NATO officials said the incident took place Wednesday in southern Afghanistan's Helmand province. The Taliban said they downed the helicopter with rocket-propelled grenades.

In a separate incident, NATO said a service member was killed by a roadside bomb in southern Afghanistan.

NATO has now lost 18 troops in a series of attacks since Monday. U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Wednesday the coalition of nations with forces in Afghanistan needs to see progress by the end of this year.

Gates, in London for meetings with his British counterpart, said the top U.S. military commander is confident American forces will make enough progress to justify a continued presence in Afghanistan. He also said the U.S. could start giving the Afghan government increased control in areas where security has improved.

Taliban militants have increased their attacks as NATO prepares an effort to drive the group from its stronghold in southern Kandahar province.

NATO said Tuesday a bomb killed two of its soldiers in southern Afghanistan. Elsewhere in the region, a British soldier was killed in a gunbattle with insurgents in the Nad-e Ali district of Helmand province.

On Monday, seven Americans, one French and two Australian soldiers were killed in attacks in the south and east of the country. It was the deadliest day so far this year for international forces in Afghanistan.

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