8 NATO service members die in Afghanistan in Jan.

2013-02-02 13:29:47 GMT2013-02-02 21:29:47(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

KABUL, Feb. 2 (Xinhua) -- Up to eight soldiers with the NATO- led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) had been killed in Afghan war in January this year, the lowest casualty in a month over the past four years.

According to iCasualties, a website tracking the casualties of NATO-led troops in the U.S.-led war on terror, eight soldiers had been killed in the militancy-hit country last month, three of whom are Americans.

A Polish soldier with the coalition was killed in a hostile fire incident on Jan. 23 in eastern Ghazni province, 100 km south of capital city of Kabul, according to the website.

Out of all deaths last month, four soldiers had been killed in home-made bomb or Improvised Explosive Device (IED) attacks across the country.

The simple but difficult to be detected Taliban weapon used in making suicide vests and roadside bombs, has proved a challenge for Afghan and NATO-led forces in the central Asian country.

Three other service men were killed in separate small arms fire incidents in different part of the insurgency-hit country last month, including one British soldier who was shot and killed by an Afghan army soldier.

The incident took place on Jan. 7, as the Afghan soldier opened fire against coalition forces in a military base in Nahr-e Saraj district of southern Helmand province, 100 km south of Kabul, the latest in the so-called green-on-blue insider attacks.

The shooter was also killed in the firing in the attack claimed by the Taliban insurgent group, which has been waging an insurgency since its regime was toppled by a U.S-led invasion in late 2001.

The casualties of the military alliance in the war against Taliban and other insurgent groups have also dropped down in 2012 for the second successive year in comparison with 2010 when the military alliance suffered the highest losses of lives.

A total of 402 foreign soldiers were killed in Afghanistan in 2012, compared with 566 deaths in 2011. According to the website, in 2010 the casualties of NATO-led forces in Afghanistan had been registered at 711.

Currently there are about 100,000 NATO-led forces, with nearly 66,000 of them Americans, stationed in the country to stop the Taliban from returning to power.

The last of 33,000 U.S. surge troops pulled out of the country last September, which was part of U.S. President Barack Obama's withdrawal plan and the ultimate goal is to transfer lead security responsibility to the Afghan forces by 2014.

However, local observers are of the view that a decline in the violence, foreign troops withdrawal and handover of security responsibilities from foreign forces to the Afghan army and police could also be a reason for lower foreign force casualties throughout 2012.

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