31 NATO service members killed in January in Afghanistan

21:03, January 31, 2011      

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Taliban-linked continued insurgency have claimed the lives of 31 soldiers with the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) throughout January this year in the conflict-ridden Afghanistan.

The militants in the latest waves of offensive against NATO-led forces on Monday, the last day in January, organized an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) attack leaving one service member dead, the alliance said in a statement released here.

"An International Security Assistance Force service member died following an improvised explosive device attack in eastern Afghanistan today,"the statement said.

However, it did not identify the nationality of the victim, saying it is ISAF policy to defer casualty identification procedures to the relevant national authorities.

Troops mostly from U.S. have been deployed in the eastern part of Afghanistan.

As of Jan. 30, according to iCasualties, a website tracking NATO-led forces fatalities in war on terror, 30 service members with 21 of them Americans had been killed in Afghanistan since beginning this year.

Monday's fatality brings the number of NATO's service members, killed throughout January to 31 which indicates losing one soldier each day of the outgoing month.

The fatalities, NATO-led troops had suffered in January 2010; according to iCasualties were 43 with majority of them Americans.

Although casualties of the NATO-led troops in the first month of 2011 is less than the casualties the alliance suffered in the same period last year, NATO commanders have predicted more challenges in the months ahead.

The U.S. chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff admiral Mike Mullen, according to media reports has predicted more violence in Afghanistan in 2011, saying "the violence will be worse in 2011 than in 2010."

Spokesman of over 140,000-strong NATO-led multinational peacekeeping troops in Afghanistan

Brigadier General Josef Blotz told reporters at a press conference late December 2010 that NATO-led ISAF troops "are going to face more violence in 2011. There will be still fighting and the work has not been done."

Source: Xinhua(By Abdul Haleem, Yan Liang)
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