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6 Foreign Troops Reported Killed Monday in Afghan Clashes

VOA News 11 January 2010

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. A statement from President Nicolas Sarkozy's office says the attack occurred as French and Afghan troops were patrolling in the Alasay valley.

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 said 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 said local elders were optimistic about the future - which he said 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.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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