NATO Troop Killed In South Afghanistan Bomb Blast

A NATO service member was killed Monday by a bomb in southern Afghanistan, the eighth coalition member to die in the first four days of October.

The NATO statement on the death did not specify where the bombing occurred or the service member's nationality. A U.S. troop surge in southern Afghanistan in recent months has been accompanied by rising military casualties and civilian deaths.

Monday's death was the eighth this month sustained by the coalition, in what has been the deadliest year for international troops in the nine-year conflict. The toll has shaken the commitment of many NATO countries with rising calls to start drawing down troops quickly.

NATO also announced Monday that an insurgent with the Haqqani network responsible for attacking coalition and Afghan troops was captured in an operation Sunday in eastern Khost province. The Haqqani network is a Pakistan-based faction of the Taliban with close ties to al-Qaida.

A raid by Afghan and NATO forces on a compound in Sabari district led to the operative's arrest, a statement said.

The group was started by Jalaluddin Haqqani, a commander once supported by Pakistan and the U.S. during the 1980s war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. Haqqani has since turned against the U.S., and American military officials have said his organization - now effectively led by his son, Sirajuddin - presents one of the greatest threats to foreign forces in Afghanistan.

A Taliban commander responsible for attacks in eastern Ghazni province was also captured Saturday in a raid in Andar district, NATO said.

To the south in Kandahar province, three insurgents were killed in an Afghan and NATO operation Sunday in Arghandab district, Kandahar's governor said in a Monday release. The raid in Khisroo village also recovered explosive material and an anti-personnel mine that were destroyed.

Afghan security forces, meanwhile, were ambushed by militants in Kandahar's Panjwai district on Sunday, the statement said. No casualties were sustained by either side after a gunbattle.

The Afghan army now has 140,000 active soldiers with another 20,000 being trained. The goal is 240,000 troops.

But the Afghan army and police are still widely seen as hobbled by a lack of education, drug abuse and corruption, raising doubts about whether they will be able to take the lead from NATO in securing the country by 2014, as promised.

This program aired on October 4, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.


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