A helicopter crash killed nine troops from the NATO-led force in Afghanistan’s south yesterday, making 2010 the deadliest year of the war for foreign troops.

Violence is at its fiercest across Afghanistan since the Taliban were ousted by U.S.-backed Afghan forces in 2001, with military and civilian casualties at record levels.

The crash came soon after one of the bloodiest days of the year on Saturday, when the Taliban launched scores of attacks across the country in a bid to disrupt a parliamentary election that has been tarnished by a growing number of fraud complaints.


The Afghan Independent Election Commission said counting had finished at all 5,897 polling stations that had opened, and that a total of 4.3 million ballots were cast.

That would be the lowest number of voters out of all four elections held since the Taliban was ousted in 2001. The ballots now have to be taken to provincial centers before coming to the capital, Kabul, for a final tally.

The country’s Electoral Complaints Commission said it has received almost 3,000 complaints about the poll and was considering extending yesterday’s deadline for submitting grievances because thousands more were expected.

Obama’s Democrats also face difficult midterm congressional elections in November amid sagging public support for the war.

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