Two Italian soldiers killed in Afghanistan

May 5, 2006 at 4:26 PM
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KABUL, Afghanistan, May 5 (UPI) -- Two Italian soldiers were killed Friday in Afghanistan by a mine or roadside bomb that struck their armored vehicle southeast of Kabul.

Lt. Manuel Fiorito and Sgt. Maj. Luca Polsinelli were evacuated by air to a military hospital where they died, the Italian news agency Ansa reported.

An intelligence source told Ansa that insurgents appear to have targeted Italian troops to put pressure on the new government headed by Prime Minister Romano Prodi to withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan. Last week, three soldiers died in a bombing in southern Iraq and last month a suicide bomber killed three Afghans in an attack on an Italian base.

Prodi, who had promised to keep to Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's timetable of removing troops from Iraq by year's end, has not said anything about speeding up the withdrawal.

"The problem of the price paid by our soldiers for peace and stability is one of the country's biggest problems at the moment, possibly the biggest," Prodi said, after learning of the most recent deaths.

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