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August is deadliest month for U.S. troops

KABUL — August has become the deadliest month yet for U.S. forces in the nearly 10-year-old war in Afghanistan, increasing pressure on the Obama administration to bring troops home sooner rather than later.

The 66 U.S. service members killed this month eclipses the previous record of 65 killed in July 2010, according to an Associated Press tally. Nearly half the August deaths occurred when insurgents shot down a Chinook helicopter Aug. 6, killing 30 U.S. troops, mostly elite Navy SEALs.

Violence is being reported across Afghanistan despite the U.S.-led coalition’s drive to rout insurgents from their strongholds in the south.

U.S. military officials predicted high casualties this summer as the Taliban try to come back after recent offensives.

The military has begun to implement President Obama’s order to withdraw the 33,000 extra troops he dispatched to the war. He ordered 10,000 out this year and another 23,000 withdrawn by the summer of 2012, leaving about 68,000 U.S. troops on the ground.


3 killed, 3 wounded in volatile Chechnya

ROSTOV-ON-DON — Three police officers were killed and three civilians wounded in a suicide bomb attack and subsequent shooting in Russia’s province of Chechnya on Tuesday.

The suicide bomber killed two police officers near a cafe in the Chechen capital, Grozny, where a festive crowd was celebrating the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, duty officer Musa Kasayev said.

The explosion also wounded three civilians nearby, he told the Associated Press.

The regional police press service said that a third police officer was killed in a shootout in a crowd that gathered around the cafe after the explosion.

No one claimed responsibility for the attacks.

An Islamic insurgency has spread across Russia’s southern Caucasus region since two separatists wars were fought in Chechnya. The insurgents launch regular attacks on authorities they blame for abductions, torture and extra-judicial killings.

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