October 28, 2009 in News

Eight soldiers killed were based near Tacoma

Associated Press

FORT LEWIS — Fort Lewis has confirmed that eight soldiers who died in Afghanistan on Tuesday were assigned to a unit from the Army base near Tacoma.

Spokesman Joseph Piek said the soldiers were part of the 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team of the 2nd Infantry Division. He says seven were killed in an explosion of an improvised explosive device, while the eighth was killed in a separate attack, again using an IED.

The names of the soldiers have not yet been released.

The Defense Department also announced that an officer assigned to a military police unit based at Fort Lewis, 35-year-old Maj. David L. Audo, of St. Joseph, Ill., died Tuesday from a noncombat-related incident in Baghdad.

The attacks Tuesday pushed the American death toll to a record monthly level for the third time in four months.

Both attacks took place in the southern province of Kandahar, said Capt. Adam Weece, a spokesman for American forces in the south. The region bordering the Pakistan frontier is an insurgent stronghold and was the birthplace of the Taliban in the 1990s.

The soldiers were patrolling in armored vehicles when a roadside bomb ripped through one of them, killing seven of them and an Afghan civilian, U.S. forces spokesman Lt. Col. Todd Vician said.

The eighth American died in a separate bombing elsewhere in the south, also while patrolling in a military vehicle, Vician said.

The casualties bring to 55 the total number of Americans killed in October in Afghanistan. The next highest toll was in August, when 51 U.S. soldiers died and the troubled nation held the first round of its presidential election amid a wave of violence.

The deaths came one day after 11 U.S. soldiers and three Drug Enforcement Administration agents were killed in separate helicopter crashes in Afghanistan, marking the biggest loss of American life on a single day in four years.

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