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6 Foreign Troops Reported Killed in Afghan Clashes


NATO is reporting the deaths of six foreign troops in Afghanistan on Monday, making it one of the deadliest days for foreign troops in months.

NATO says three U.S. service members were killed Monday afternoon in fighting in southern Afghanistan and another two foreign troops were killed in clashes in the east.

French officials say one of their soldiers was killed and another seriously wounded in an attack some 80 kilometers northeast of Kabul.

Meanwhile, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, says there is evidence the U.S. troop surge in the country is reversing the Taliban's advance. In a televised interview (with U.S. broadcaster ABC's World News program), the general also says the U.S. military has changed the way it operates and is making progress convincing Afghans that foreign troops are there to protect them.

McChrystal says he recently attended a community meeting with tribal leaders in an area of southern Afghanistan's Helmand province that was controlled by the Taliban seven months ago. He says local elders were optimistic about the future – which he says is a sign that the new U.S. strategy is working.

A new public opinion poll in Afghanistan sponsored by American, British and German broadcasters says 70 percent of Afghans believe the country is headed in the right direction. The poll organizers say that is the highest level of optimism since 2005. Last year, just 40 percent of those polled reported a similar optimistic outlook.

The poll also says that Afghans are about split on who to blame for civilian casualties. The poll reports about 36 percent blame foreign forces for poor targeting, and about 35 percent blame militants for hiding among civilians. The rest blame both sides equally.

Dr. Muhammad Masum, Professor in the department of Economics at Towson University in Maryland speaks to VOA about Afghanistan’s economic situation and security. He says that without improvement of security, economic development in Afghanistan cannot be attained.

In the summer of 2008, Dr. Muhammad Masum served as an ILO Adviser in Kabul assisting the Ministry of Labor, Government of Afghanistan, in formulating a Draft National Employment Policy and Strategy which was presented at a national workshop held in Kabul on August 17, 2008.

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