Three American soldiers died on Sunday after coming under attack in eastern Afghanistan, the international peacekeeping force, Isaf, says. Six foreign soldiers were killed on Saturday, making it one of the worst weekends for foreign forces since the ousting of the Taliban in 2001.
The casualties come as concern grows over the aims of the Isaf mission.
On Sunday British parliamentarians said the UK mission in Afghanistan lacked a realistic strategy.
The three US soldiers were killed on Sunday in an incident in eastern Afghanistan, Isaf says. Their patrol was hit by a roadside bomb and then came under gun attack from militants.
It has now been confirmed that six soldiers died in various incidents on Saturday: “Yesterday (Saturday) was a very tough day for Isaf as we lost more brave soldiers who were striving to provide security for the Afghan population,” an Isaf statement said on Sunday.
The incidents come after July saw the highest monthly death toll for foreign troops since 2001. There were 43 Americans among the 74 killed.
The BBC’s David Loyn in Kabul says the upwards trend is due to an increase in the number of foreign forces moving around and taking the fight to the Taliban.
It also shows how the Taliban have developed their tactics to continue to inflict damage even while they often avoid direct exchanges of gunfire, he says.
There are altogether currently more than 100,000 US-led troops in Afghanistan fighting a growing Taliban insurgency. US President Barack Obama has ordered an additional 21,000 troops to the country by the end of the year.
Violence has increased ahead of presidential elections on 20 August.
Civilians and Afghan security officials have also come under attack as insurgents target election candidates and officials. On Sunday, British MPs said the military mission in Afghanistan had failed to deliver on its promises because troops had too many tasks.
The House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee said “mission creep” had brought too many responsibilities, including fighting the drugs trade.
Poor government planning and a lack of realistic strategy and clear direction undermined the mission, the MPs said.