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4 U.S. soldiers, 2 others killed in Afghanistan

Four U.S. soldiers were killed Monday by a roadside bomb in eastern Afghanistan and two NATO troops died in other parts of the country, NATO said.

Four U.S. soldierswere killed Monday by a roadside bomb in eastern Afghanistan and two NATO troops died in other parts of the country, NATO said.

The U.S. soldiers were conducting a combat patrol in the eastern province of Paktika when the roadside bomb detonated, officials said.

Norway said one of its soldiers died in Logar province.

The nationality of the sixth soldier, killed in the southern part of the country, was not disclosed. While Canadian soldiers are active in that region, there is no indication that the soldier is a member of the Canadian Forces.

A total of 114 NATO soldiers have died in Afghanistan this year, including 22 Canadians.

In the poppy-growing heartland of Helmand province, the U.S.-led coalition and Afghan soldiers "routed" a large number of Taliban fighters in a two-day battle, killing more than 50 suspected militants, the coalition said Monday.

The battle in Sangin district saw the insurgents attempt to shoot down a coalition aircraft and attack soldiers with a suicide car bomb, the coalition said in a statement.

Coalition aircraft dropped four bombs during the engagement, and Afghan forces counted "more than four dozen" insurgents killed, it said.

Coalition and Afghan forces "only engaged legitimate military and enemy targets to minimize the potential of Afghan casualties," said U.S. Maj. Chris Belcher, a coalition spokesman. "We did this even as the insurgents tried to create some propaganda value by placing innocent civilians in harm's way."

Civilian casualties have been a major problem for U.S. and NATO forces this year. Taliban militants often fight in populated areas or seek cover in civilian homes, leading to the deaths of ordinary Afghans. There were no immediate reports of civilian casualties during the battle, but those reports sometimes take a day or two to surface.

With files from the Associated Press