updated 9/18/2009 9:37:00 AM ET 2009-09-18T13:37:00

A U.S. service member and a Canadian soldier died in separate roadside bomb explosions in southern Afghanistan, officials said Friday, announcing new deaths from a day that claimed the lives of a total of nine international troops.

The American and Canadian died Thursday, the same day a car bomber killed six Italian troops in a brazen attack in the heavily guarded capital of Kabul. A NATO soldier also died Thursday of wounds from an earlier attack.

U.S. military spokeswoman Capt. Elizabeth Mathias said the American died when his patrol struck a bomb planted in the road. She did not provide his name.

Canadian Brig. Gen. Jonathan Vance said Pvt. Jonathan Couturier, 23, was killed as he returned from a mission to root out Taliban weapons caches in the southern province of Kandahar.

Main weapons
Bombs planted in and around roads are one of the main weapons used by the insurgents, now accounting for the majority of U.S. and NATO casualties.

This year has been the deadliest for American and NATO troops since the 2001 invasion to oust the Taliban for sheltering al-Qaida leaders who plotted the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the U.S. Violence has been particularly harsh in the south, where thousands of U.S. troops have deployed to bolster the Canadian and British-led operations in the Taliban heartland.

The U.S. and NATO have a record number of troops in Afghanistan — nearly 100,000 in total — and the top commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, is likely to soon request thousands more.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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