KABUL — Five US soldiers were killed in Afghanistan on Tuesday, NATO said, as the number of Americans to die in the war in the past four days climbed to 22.
Four soldiers were killed in eastern Afghanistan in a Taliban-style bomb attack, NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said.
The fifth died in an insurgent attack in the south of the country, where the insurgency is at its fiercest, it said in a separate statement.
A spokesman confirmed to AFP that all the dead were Americans.
The deaths bring to 485 the total number of foreign troops killed in the Afghan war this year, compared to 521 for all of 2009, according to an AFP tally based on that kept by the independent icasualties.org website.
The deaths come a day after eight NATO troops -- seven of them American -- were killed in bomb attacks in southern Afghanistan.
The eighth soldier was a 20-year-old Estonian who died of his injuries on Monday after insurgents set off an improvised explosive device (IED) in Nad-e-Ali in Helmand province.
Estonia has a 160-strong contingent within the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, part of a troop deployment of almost 150,000 under NATO and US command.
It was the eighth Estonian soldier killed since the Baltic state first deployed troops to Afghanistan in 2003 after the US-led overthrow of the Taliban regime.
Canada lost its 152nd soldier to die as a result of the Afghan war when a corporal died from injuries sustained from an IED on August 22.
He died in hospital in Germany, the military said.
With most of the boots on the ground, the United States is bearing the greatest burden, losing 1,267 soldiers since the war began in late 2001.
Altogether, the coalition has lost 2,053 soldiers in the Afghan war.
The insurgency is at its most intense in the southern provinces of Kandahar and Helmand, but it has rapidly spread to other regions in the past year.
NATO is struggling to turn the tide on the Taliban but officials say that the arrival of 30,000 extra troops, as part of US President Barack Obama's surge aimed at speeding an end to the war, is having an impact.
The US commander of the Afghan war, General David Petraeus, acknowledged Tuesday that the Taliban were expanding their footprint across the country even as foreign forces close in on their traditional southern strongholds.
A sharp rise in attacks on international troops showed the hardline Islamist militia were feeling threatened in their safe havens after almost nine years of war, he told reporters.
The overall strategy against the Taliban was reaching its "final stages," he told three foreign media organisations including AFP, with the number of US and NATO troops set to peak at 150,000 in the coming days.
Petraeus said the intensified fighting was a reflection of the militants' desperation as the alliance poured in more resources.
"Levels of attacks have gone up and that's a manifestation of us increasing our resources substantially and taking away safe havens that the Taliban have been able to establish over the course of the last several years," he said.
"And when the enemy's safe havens are threatened they fight back."
The insurgency is concentrated in Kandahar and Helmand, which the Taliban consider their heartland, but is becoming increasingly intense along the eastern border with Pakistan.
Northern provinces are also becoming more unstable, as NATO supply lines from Central Asia traverse the previously peaceful region, drawing insurgent fighters who, residents say, are becoming embedded in villages and districts.
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