2 NATO troops die in Afghan offensive

KABUL: The US military says two NATO troops have been killed during a major coalition offensive in southern Afghanistan.

A NATO statement said Saturday that one service member died in an IED strike, while another died from small-arms fire. It did not give their nationalities.

US military spokesman Lt. Col. Todd Vician said the deaths occurred in Helmand province and were related to the ongoing offensive aimed at breaking the Taliban grip over a wide area of their southern heartland.

They are the first reported coalition casualties of the offensive, the biggest since the 2001 US-led invasion of Afghanistan.

It is the first major combat operation since President Barack Obama ordered 30,000 US reinforcements here to try to turn the tide of the war.

It is the first major combat operation since President Barack Obama ordered 30,000 US reinforcements here to try to turn the tide of the war.