Four US soldiers killed in Afghanistan

Four US soldiers were killed Sunday while fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan, NATO said, as the insurgents appeared to step up their campaign against officials and election candidates.

The four American troopers died in three separate incidents, in eastern and southern Afghanistan, NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said.

ISAF spokesman US Air Force Master Sergeant Jason Haag confirmed all four were Americans.

The deaths bring to 451 the total number of international soldiers to die in the Afghan war so far this year, according to an AFP tally based on that kept by the website. The total in 2009 was 520.

Two of the soldiers were killed in the same incident in eastern Afghanistan, while the other two died in separate incidents in the south — one in an insurgent attack, the other after an attack with a makeshift bomb, ISAF said.