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Afghan death toll reaches record

  |   June 27, 2008 at 12:48 PM
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KABUL, Afghanistan, June 27 (UPI) -- The monthly death toll of U.S. troops and their allies in Afghanistan in June was its highest since the seven-year war began.

Increased Taliban attacks in June resulted in 40 casualties, the latest when a coalition member was killed Thursday while on a reconnaissance patrol in western Afghanistan. Three U.S. troops were killed the same day southwest of Kabul, CNN reported Friday.

U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Schloesser, the U.S. commander in southeastern Afghanistan, recently said that attacks on his troops were up 40 percent in the first five months of 2008. U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates referred to Pakistan is saying one of the reasons for the increase was that more people are "coming across the border from the frontier area."

A newly announced Pakistani effort to clamp down on Islamic militants in the country's northwestern tribal districts would improve the situation in Afghanistan, Gates predicted.

"The ability of the Taliban and other insurgents to cross that border and not being under any pressure from the Pakistani side of the border is clearly a concern," he said.

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