Four U.S. service members and a British soldier were killed in two separate improvised bomb explosions in southern Afghanistan on Sunday, foreign forces said on Monday.
The four U.S. troops were the first American military casualties in Afghanistan in 2010. They were killed in an improvised explosive device (IED) strike, NATO-led forces said in a statement. A spokesman declined to give further details, saying next-of-kin were being notified.
The Taliban on Monday said that a series of explosions in Panjwai district of southern Kandahar on Sunday killed several foreign soldiers. Their report could not be verified immediately and the insurgents often inflate enemy casualty figures.
A British solder from 1st Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment, also died while on foot patrol in the Nad Ali area of Helmand province on Sunday afternoon, the British Ministry of Defence said in a statement.
Violence in Afghanistan has reached the highest level since the 2001 ouster of the Taliban by U.S.-backed Afghan forces. Last year the number of U.S. service personnel to die in Afghanistan was more than twice that in 2008.
The IED, or roadside bomb, is the Taliban's weapon of choice against the foreign troops.
In 2003, foreign forces dealt with 81 IEDs, a figure that rose to more than 7,200 for 2009, a senior NATO intelligence official said recently. This included IEDs that had exploded and those that were found and cleared.
U.S. President Barack Obama is sending in 30,000 extra troops as part of his new war strategy, to try to turn the tide. Other NATO countries are sending some 7,000 more.