updated 5/23/2009 2:54:14 AM ET 2009-05-23T06:54:14

A NATO service member has been killed in fighting in southern Afghanistan, the international force said Saturday.

The service member was killed Friday in a "direct fire attack," NATO forces said in a statement. It did not provide the troop's nationality, citing a policy of waiting for the national authority to do so.

The force also did not provide further details about the incident.

The Taliban have taken back control of large areas of southern Afghanistan in the past three years, reversing much of the gains won by international forces when they invaded in 2001.

About 21,000 additional U.S. troops are arriving in Afghanistan — mainly in the south — as part of President Barack Obama's plan to turn back the resurgent militants.

Yet as this happens, there are also indications that Afghan insurgents are increasingly taking their battle into neighboring Pakistan.

The top U.S. general in the east said Friday that he has been seeing "some very interesting movements" of insurgents across the border into Pakistan this spring, possibly to join Taliban militants battling government troops there.

Fighters from both nations have long moved back and forth across the porous frontier, a mountainous region that has been a sanctuary for both al-Qaida and the Taliban.

But Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Schloesser's remarks in an interview with The Associated Press suggest a larger transfer into Pakistan than has been seen previously, as the fighting between Pakistan's troops and the Taliban has intensified. He did not provide details or numbers of those heading toward Pakistan.

The current movement of fighters into Pakistan could partly be a result of pressure from the thousands of new U.S. troops that have joined the fight in Afghanistan this year, Schloesser said.

More on: Taliban

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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