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Eight U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan, May 27 (UPI) -- Improvised explosive device blasts in southern Afghanistan killed eight U.S. troops in one of the worst such attacks on record, military officials said.

CNN, citing the Pentagon, said two blasts -- one after the other -- occurred in the remote Shorabak District in southern Kandahar Province, once the home ground of the Taliban, who are conducting a spring offensive.

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A police commander in the area told the BBC the explosions occurred as soon as the forces arrived to destroy a cache of insurgents' arms and weapons.

The Los Angeles Times reported a Pentagon official confirmed the eight victims were U.S. soldiers. Those deployed in Afghanistan's eastern and southern regions are mostly American troops, who comprise about two-thirds of all NATO forces in the country.

The latest deaths came in advance of the start of the proposed U.S. troop withdrawal in July, which U.S. officials have said will be contingent in the war.

Crude improvised explosive devices planted by insurgents have been blamed for many of the casualties among coalition and Afghan forces. The Times said the devices also have killed many Afghan civilians.

About 190 NATO troops have died this year in Afghanistan.

Also on Thursday, NATO's International Security Assistance Force said a coalition force member died in a helicopter crash in eastern Afghanistan. His nationality was not immediately released. The cause of the crash was being investigated.

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