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Afghan War Turns Deadly, Iraq Calms Down

Eight American troops were killed Tuesday in two attacks in Afghanistan, making this the deadliest month for U.S. forces since the war started in October 2001.

The attacks come as the White House considers a request by Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. commander there, to send thousands of extra troops to Afghanistan.

So far this month, 55 Americans have died in Afghanistan. The next-highest month for U.S. deaths was August, when 51 U.S. troops were killed.

In one incident, U.S. forces traveling in vehicles were attacked with an improvised explosive device (IED) and then came under fire from militants, according to the NATO command.

The attack killed seven U.S. servicemembers and an Afghan civilian working with NATO.

In another bomb attack, one U.S. servicemember was killed.

The increased violence also comes amid political turmoil as Afghans prepare for a presidential runoff vote, scheduled for Nov. 7.

The initial Aug. 20 election was mired in allegations of fraud and corruption. Taliban militants stepped up attacks in an effort to disrupt voting.

Tuesday's attacks reflect the Taliban's efforts to disrupt elections and influence the Washington debate over troop levels, said Rick Nelson, an analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank.

U.S. and NATO officials did not release additional details but said both attacks occurred in the south, where thousands of U.S. troops arrived earlier this year.

Overall violence in the country has been increasing as well. The number of successful IED attacks, in which troops were either injured, killed or both, increased to 106 in September 2009 compared with 38 in September 2008, records show.

IEDs cause as much as 80 percent of casualties in Afghanistan, said Army Lt. Gen. Thomas Metz, the director of the Joint IED Defeat Organization.

While U.S. deaths are at record levels in Afghanistan, they are at new lows in Iraq. Only four troops have died there this month, records show.

The previous low was seven in August.

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