Afghanistan toll highest for troops

KABUL: A bomb blast killed another NATO soldier in Afghanistan, making July the deadliest month for foreign forces fighting in the country since the 2001 US-led invasion, the military said Friday.

"An International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) service member was killed yesterday as a result of an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) strike in southern Afghanistan," ISAF said in a statement that gave no details.

Another NATO soldier, a Canadian, was killed in fighting on the same day in southern Afghanistan, the military said from Ottawa.

Thousands of US soldiers have pushed into the south, notably Helmand and Kandahar provinces, in one of the biggest operations in Afghanistan to quell Taliban strongholds in a bid to smooth key presidential elections next month.

British and Canadian soldiers also serve in the south with soldiers from nearly 40 nations serving in the NATO-led force.

Thursday's deaths would take to 205 the number of foreign soldiers to lose their lives in Afghanistan this year, most of them in attacks, according to the independent website, which tracks the death toll.

There are nearly 90,000 foreign soldiers in the country, according to an estimate based on Pentagon figures.