KABUL, Afghanistan — Six NATO service members, including three Americans, were killed in Afghanistan on Monday — the deadliest day for the international force in more than two months, underscoring fears that casualties will rise as more foreign troops stream into the country.
The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan said he thought the rising presence of international forces was blunting the militants. Gen. Stanley McChrystal told ABC News that the international force is on its way to convincing the Afghan people that it was there to protect them.
The three Americans were killed in a firefight with militants during a patrol in an undisclosed area of southern Afghanistan, the NATO command announced.
That raised to at least 10 the number of U.S. service members killed in Afghanistan this year.
A French soldier also was killed and another was seriously wounded during a joint patrol with Afghan troops in Kapisa province, an area largely under insurgent control.
NATO said another service member was killed in the clash but did not release the nationality. It said a sixth service member was killed by a roadside bomb in the south.
British authorities later announced the death of a British bomb disposal expert as a result of an explosion in Helmand province. It was unclear if this death was in addition to the ones already announced by NATO.
The previous deadliest day for the U.S. force was Oct. 27, when eight American troops were killed in an assault on a remote outpost in eastern Afghanistan. Seven CIA officials and a Jordanian intelligence officer were killed in the Dec. 30 suicide bombing at Camp Chapman in Khost province.