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American deaths in Afghanistan war reach 500

The deadliest three months for American forces in Afghanistan have pushed the U.S. death toll to at least 500, forcing a war long overshadowed by Iraq back into the headlines.

Larger, more sophisticated militant attacks have also caused a sharp rise in Afghan civilian deaths – at least 472 in the first seven months of the year, most in suicide bombings, according to an Associated Press count.

In all, at least 600 civilians were killed from January through July, a 30 percent increase from the same period last year, according to figures compiled from coalition and Afghan officials. That includes at least 128 killed by U.S. or NATO forces.

There are about 33,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, the most since the war began, meaning more troops than ever are patrolling the country's mountainous terrain, exposed to ambushes and roadside bombs.

The U.S. military suffered 65 deaths in May, June and July, the war's deadliest three-month period.

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