Blasts kills 4 NATO troops in southern Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - A violent summer for coalition forces in Afghanistan continues with five NATO troops, including two Americans, killed by roadside bombs. Last month was the deadliest of the nearly 9-year-old war with 103 killed. So far in July, 54 international troops have died, 39 of them American, amid stepped up patrols in the Taliban-dominated south.

Roadside bombs planted by insurgents are one of the leading killers of both international troops and civilians in Afghanistan. To counter the threat, the U.S. is sending $3 billion worth of detection equipment and bomb-resistant vehicles to Afghanistan.

The equipment includes tethered surveillance blimps to give troops a bird's eye view of certain areas, plus unmanned surveillance planes and Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles. Meanwhile, NATO says Afghan and foreign troops have found $38 million worth of heroin and opium in southern Helmand province. They also found enough ammonium nitrate to make 25 roadside bombs.

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