Afghanistan War: British soldier, three Afghan police killed by roadside blasts

Roadside bomb attacks in Afghanistan's volatile south and east killed three Afghan policemen and a British soldier, officials said Tuesday.

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    Afghanistan War: United States soldiers from Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion of the 508 Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne, wait to leave on patrol from Combat Outpost Ware in the volatile Arghandab Valley, outside Kandahar City, Tuesday.
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Three Afghan policemen and a British soldier were killed by roadside bomb attacks in Afghanistan's volatile south and east, officials said Tuesday.

Insurgent attacks have been surging in much of the country as NATO, bolstered this year by some 30,000 more U.S. troops, ramps up a crucial push to bring security to Taliban-dominated areas in the south after nearly nine years of war.

The British soldier was on patrol in the south's Helmand province when a roadside blast wounded him in Nahr-i-Saraj district, Britain's Ministry of Defense said in a statement Tuesday. It did not identify him.

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The soldier, from 1st Battalion of the Mercian Regiment, was evacuated to Britain after Sunday's blast but died Monday in a hospital.

At least 15 international troops have been killed in Afghanistan so far in July. Last month was the deadliest of the war for the NATO force trying to stabilize the country since the Taliban's hard-line Islamist regime was toppled by U.S.-backed forces in 2001.

According to a tally by The Associated Press, 103 international service members, including 60 Americans, died in June.

In eastern Afghanistan, three Afghan police died Tuesday afternoon when their joint convoy with international troops was patrolling in Logar province and a vehicle hit a buried mine in Baraki Barak district, local government chief Mohammad Rahim Amin said.

Another police vehicle that came to assist hit a second mine, wounding four Afghans, Amin said, adding that an American helicopter flew to the scene and was hovering over the wreckage before sunset.

Logar, the province just south of the capital of Kabul, hosts a major American base and is also a hive of activity for the Haqqani network of insurgents allied with al-Qaida and the Taliban.

Insurgent attacks have increased around the country in recent years, prompting the U.S. to send more troops and launch a security operation in the southern province of Kandahar, the spiritual birthplace of the Taliban.

Sen. John McCain, the ranking Republican on the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, said Monday the Kandahar push is crucial to whether NATO and Afghan troops will prevail in the war.

McCain, who visited Afghanistan's largest city in the south on Monday with two other U.S. lawmakers, warned of tough fighting ahead and predicted that casualties would rise in the short-term.

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