Page last updated at 18:16 GMT, Thursday, 21 August 2008 19:16 UK

Six dead in fresh Afghan attack

Canadian soldier in Afghanistan
The number of Canadian casualties is approaching 100

Six Nato soldiers have been killed in new violence in Afghanistan, days after a deadly Taleban attack on French troops in the country, officials say.

Three of the dead are Canadians, bringing to 93 the number of Canadian soldiers killed there since it sent troops to the war-torn country in 2002.

Wednesday's deaths are the worst one-day toll for Canadians since last year when six soldiers died in an explosion.

The other three dead were Poles killed on Thursday in the province of Ghazni.

The three Canadians died when a roadside bomb went off in southern Afghanistan, a Canadian army spokesman said.

We seek out terrorists and we will give them the option to be captured or killed or possibly flee
Lt Col Rumi Nielson-Green
Coalition spokeswoman

"I don't know that the Taleban are getting stronger. What I'd say is they're much more aggressive this fighting season than they've been in the past," Brig Gen Denis Thompson said.

"The difference is they're not holding any of the ground they're attacking us on."

There are 2,500 Canadians based in the south as part of Nato's mission to fight the Taleban.

A fourth soldier was reported injured in the attack.

The three Polish soldiers died in Ghazni province, in the centre of Afghanistan. They were members of Warsaw's contingent in the country and were killed by an improvised explosive device, Polish news agency PAP said.

UK visit

Elsewhere, there were unconfirmed reports that coalition troops killed 30 militants in Laghman province, to the north-east of Kabul.

Air strikes and small-arms fire were used in the attack, coalition officials said.

They also said no coalition troops and no Afghan civilians were injured in the operation.

However, there was no independent confirmation of rebel casualty figures.

A US army spokeswoman said it was not "completely certain" that the militants were directly involved in an attack earlier this week on French soldiers, in which 10 died and 21 were injured.

UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown has meanwhile flown to Afghanistan.

Mr Brown, who made the surprise stop en route to Beijing for the closing ceremony of the Olympics, visited British troops at their main base in Helmand province.

He then moved on to Kabul for talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

His visit comes at a time where there has been an upsurge in deadly violence around the country.

In the east of the country on Tuesday, a wave of suicide bombers attacked a US military base in the province of Khost, sparking a major battle.

There have been continued signs in recent weeks that fighting is intensifying across Afghanistan, with rebel attacks reaching ever closer to the capital.

Map showing foreign troop deployments in Afghanistan
Countries contributing more than 1,000 troops

Australia - 1,100
Canada - 2,500
France - 2,600
Germany - 3,370
Italy - 2,350
Netherlands - 1,770
Poland - 1,140
UK - 8,530
US - 14,000*
Sources: Isaf, August 2008. *US government statistics.
Figures are approximate

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