Six U.S. service members were killed in southern Afghanistan in the last two days, the NATO-led command said, making the death toll in July the deadliest month for American forces since the war in Afghanistan started nine years ago.
On Friday, one service member died in an insurgent attack and the two others in an improvised explosive device strike, NATO's International Security Assistance Force said. On Thursday, IEDs killed two troops in one incident and another service member in another, ISAF said.
Their deaths bring the July tally to 66. A total of 88 international service members, including Americans, have died this month.
It is no coincidence that IEDs caused most of the latest deaths. Taliban militants regularly target troops with improvised explosive devices. The homemade bombs are considered the weapon of choice for insurgents in the Afghan conflict. The military regularly conducts raids targeting those who stage the
attacks against troops.
Before this month, June was the deadliest month for Americans and coalition forces. A total of 103 international soldiers died last month - including 60 Americans. The totals are based on reports compiled by CNN.
The latest grim milestone comes amid concern at home over Washington's strategy in the Afghanistan war.
Coalition forces have intensified their war against insurgents, sparking fears that militants will bolster their attacks.
President Obama announced plans to send 30,000 more troops, but has said he will start withdrawing American forces in July 2011.
Last month, the Afghan war suffered another setback when the president dismissed Gen. Stanley McChrystal as the top military commander over inappropriate comments he made about some officials in the administration. Gen. David Petraeus took over the role.
Photo at top: A soldier is buried at Arlington National Cemetery on Wednesday after he died from wounds suffered when a suicide bomber attacked his unit in Afghanistan.