The icasualties.org website puts the number of soldiers to have died since the Afghan insurgency began in 2001 at 1,964, with 1,204 of them Americans.

IEDs are the main cause of foreign soldiers' deaths, according to military officials.

The US and Nato have almost 150,000 troops in Afghanistan, with the surge of an extra 30,000 Americans ordered by Barack Obama, the US president, almost fully deployed. Most of them are stationed in the southern provinces of Kandahar and Helmand.