KABUL (Reuters) – Four U.S. soldiers were killed and three wounded in a bomb attack in Afghanistan on Sunday as they were trying to clear militants from an area before an election next month, the U.S. military said.
The three wounded men were hurt in secondary explosions as they tried to pull their fellow soldiers to safety after the first blast in Zabul province, in the south of the country.
"Attacks such as this strengthen, not weaken, the resolve of the U.S./Coalition, Afghan National Security Forces, and the Afghan people," said a U.S. commander, Major-General Jason Kamiya.
U.S. forces have now suffered 47 deaths in combat in Afghanistan this year making it the worst period since they arrived to oust the Taliban in October 2001.
The unit attacked on Sunday in Dai Chopan district was involved in operations in support of the September 18 parliamentary and provincial elections, which the Taliban and other militants have condemned and vowed to disrupt.
"The unit”s mission is part of a much larger operation to disrupt enemy forces and to thereby provide a safe environment for upcoming September elections," the U.S. military said.
The Afghan government and U.S. officials say the militants will fail in their bid to spoil the vote.
Sunday”s casualty toll is the worst for U.S. forces in Afghanistan since 16 American servicemen were killed in June when their helicopter was shot down as they tried to rescue four trapped U.S. special forces soldiers.
Only one of the special forces soldiers survived.