The deaths come as the last of 35,000 extra troops ordered by US President Barack Obama arrives in the country.
They are preparing for a major operation in the southern province of Kandahar - the heart of the Taliban insurgency - later this summer, says the BBC's Martin Patience in Kabul.In September 2010, that will amount to nine years in the godforsaken joint--with not a whole lot to show for it, and a resurgent Taliban running rings around the infidels. Nonetheless, the Beeb reports today that Nato commander General Stanley McChrystal is in no rush to wrap things up. On the contrary--he thinks the way to go is at a snail's pace:
But with the casualty rate rising, public support for the campaign is waning, our correspondent adds. Some, both in Europe and the US, are wondering whether the fight against the Taliban is sustainable.
There are currently around 94,000 US troops in Afghanistan, and that number is expected to reach around 100,000 in line with Mr Obama's pledge to step up the anti-Taliban offensive. Nato allies contribute another 47,000 soldiers.
A plan by Afghan President Hamid Karzai to enter into peace talks with the Taliban received the backing of tribal leaders at a three-day meeting in Kabul last week.
But the group has said in the past it would only negotiate with the government once foreign troops had left the country.
Alongside this push for peace in the country, our correspondent says, the US military believes it has to get on the front foot in defeating the insurgency, increasing the pressure on the Taliban to come to the negotiating table.
Nato troops first fought in Afghanistan shortly after the September 2001 attacks on New York and Washington...
The Nato commander in Afghanistan says a military operation to drive militants out of Kandahar will move at a slower pace than planned.That would be the same Hamid Karzai who wanted to open talks with the Taliban, but who was rebuffed pending the withdrawal of infidel troops. Now he's saying the infidels have to run their operations by "tribal elders" before they can get on with them? It begs these questions: if infidels are putting their lives on the line, why do Karzai and the elders get to call the shots?; and, if we haven't managed to "ensure local support" after nine years, how "slow" do you go--and how many more infidels are you prepared to sacrifice--before you realize that there's a snowball's chance in Hades of that happening in a backward land ruled by sharia?
General Stanley McChrystal said the operation would happen "more slowly" in order to ensure local support.
President Hamid Karzai has said that no operation will begin without the support of tribal elders.