KANDAHAR, Afghanistan -- Five American service members were killed in southern Afghanistan Thursday, three of them when an improvised explosive device exploded, according to NATO's International Security Assistance Force.
The deaths come in the course of a continuing military push into Taliban strongholds that began earlier this summer. U.S. troops in southern Afghanistan have encountered extensive networks of improvised explosive devices buried along roadways, and some are detonated by foot patrols.
In the Thursday bomb attack, two U.S. service members were killed, and one died later of wounds suffered in the attack, according to Capt. Regina Gillis, a U.S. spokeswoman for ISAF.
The Pentagon said the three bomb deaths involved a Stryker armored vehicle operating in Zabul province. In Iraq, the U.S. Army repeatedly deployed the eight-wheeled Strykers to help patrol in Mosul, Baghdad and other areas.
Strykers were deployed to Afghanistan with the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, based out of Fort Lewis, Wash., for the first time this summer. Most of the brigade has been based in the Kandahar province, which has been a stronghold of the resurgent Taliban.
On Friday evening, ISAF officials said that the five deaths involved three separate incidents. The Pentagon said the fourth death also was in Zabul province.
ISAF officials don't identify specific units that have suffered losses, and the Defense Department withholds announcements of casualties until next of kin are notified.
(Bernton reports for The Seattle Times. Nancy A. Youssef contributed to this article from Washington.)
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