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Deadly week continues in Afghanistan as 2 NATO troops killed

By David Ariosto, CNN
The attacks coincide with a NATO draw-down and a transition of security to Afghanistan's national forces.
The attacks coincide with a NATO draw-down and a transition of security to Afghanistan's national forces.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Two NATO service members die in IED attacks in southern Afghanistan
  • On Thursday, five Americans were killed in another attack in the region
  • NATO says two insurgents were killed in northern Baghlan province

Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) -- Roadside bombs killed two service members in separate attacks Friday in southern Afghanistan, NATO said, marking the eighth death in the region in the past three days.

On Thursday, five Americans were killed in an improvised explosive device attack. An additional service member died Thursday in a similar strike in eastern Afghanistan.

No other information was provided.

The rash of attacks comes on the heels of the worst single-incident loss of life for Americans since the Afghan war started nearly a decade ago.

Thirty U.S. service members, including 17 Navy SEALs, were killed Saturday when their helicopter was apparently shot down by insurgent fire in the eastern central province of Wardak.

Sgt. Daniel J. Paton, 26, of Canton, Ohio, was also killed that day in a roadside bomb in Helmand province.

Forces kill Taliban who downed chopper
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The attacks coincide with a NATO drawdown and a transition of security to national forces. Ten thousand U.S. soldiers are scheduled to depart Afghanistan by year's end, with the full drawdown set for the end of 2014.

"The endgame for NATO is to hand over security responsibility over all of Afghanistan to the Afghan security forces," said Brig. Gen. Carsten Jacobsen, a spokesman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force.

"Once we have achieved that, the NATO mission can come to an end."

Critics question the readiness of Afghan security forces, particularly those operating in the country's restive eastern and southern border provinces.

Jacobsen said NATO forces aim to provide a more manageable scenario for local forces "against only very reduced numbers of terrorists."

But, he said, it "will have to be seen in the three and a half years that we've got left."

Newly appointed U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker said last month that a U.S. military presence in the country could extend beyond the 2014 date.

Still, he emphasized that America "has no interest in permanent bases in Afghanistan."

"We will stay as long as we need to and not one day more."

Roughly 150,000 International Security Assistance Force members are deployed in Afghanistan, including fewer than 100,000 from the United States.

Meanwhile, NATO reported Friday that two insurgents were killed and several more detained after a joint coalition-Afghan operation in the northern Baghlan province.

The raid targeted a "Taliban facilitator" responsible for coordinating a network of suicide bombers who were preparing an "imminent attack" on provincial government officials.

The whereabouts of the facilitator are not clear.

NATO says coalition forces also detained an insurgent leader in Kandahar province, a Taliban heartland often considered their birthplace.

 
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