KABUL -- Nine NATO troops were killed Monday in a helicopter crash and a spate of attacks in southern and eastern Afghanistan, putting June on pace to become the deadliest month for the U.S.-led international force in the nearly nine-year war.
At least 62 NATO service members, including 41 Americans, have been killed this month in Afghanistan -- an average of nearly three per day.
Also on Monday, Afghan officials said a deputy district governor was slain in Wardak Province, the latest blow for the U.S. effort to boost local governance in Taliban strongholds.
The surge in NATO casualties comes as the U.S. military is deploying an additional 30,000 troops to Taliban strongholds in an effort to secure them enough for the Afghan government to assume control.
"We're getting into places where we haven't been," Lt. Gen. David Rodriguez, the No. 2 U.S. commander in Afghanistan, said in an interview. The Taliban are "going to continue to fight back for those areas so they don't lose their influence or the significant amount of drug money and resources," he added.
Monday's crash marked the deadliest incident for Australian troops since the war began.
The country, which has roughly 1,500 troops in Afghanistan, has lost 16 service members, including two killed in a roadside bombing earlier this month. Seven Australian soldiers were wounded in Monday's crash, the officials said, some gravely.
"The families of these soldiers can be extremely proud of their loved ones," Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, the head of Australia's Defense Force, said in a statement. "These three soldiers were very experienced. Time after time they have taken the fight to the enemy with courage and determination. I have nothing but admiration for these very brave and committed Australians. They were some of our finest."
Also on Monday, the British government announced that 300 of its troops have been killed in Afghanistan, following the death Monday of a British marine injured Sunday in a roadside bombing in Helmand province. Prime Minister David Cameron called the death of the 300th British service member "desperately sad news," but said British soldiers will remain in Afghanistan because "the Afghans are not yet ready to keep their country safe."