A helicopter crash in southern Afghanistan killed nine NATO troops Tuesday, giving 2010 the dubious distinction of being the deadliest year for international soldiers in Afghanistan since the U.S.-led invasion nine years ago. Combined, 525 U.S. and NATO service members have died in Afghanistan this year; last year the number was 504. U.S. officials predicted more bloodshed after Obama ordered an additional 30,000 troops deployed to Afghanistan last December to challenge the Taliban insurgency taking hold in the south. Last week, General Petraeus told ABC News that the U.S. was "at the beginning of a responsible draw-down" in Afghanistan where progress could seem "as slow as, again, watching grass grow or paint dry."
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