The Taliban have struck back against a US-led offensive against insurgent forces in Afghanistan. Two American soldiers died in an attack on an army base which military sources described as ‘complex.’ Two Afghan policemen and 10 militants also died.The attack came after thousands of US and British troops launched Operation Khanjar to drive the Taliban out of southern Helmand province. The attack on Zirok base in Paktika province sparked a two-hour battle. Violence in next-door Kandahar saw a Canadian soldier and seven Afghan policemen killed. The attacks prove the Taliban’s continuing ability to strike. And, in another worry for the Americans, a US soldier is believed to have been kidnapped after walking unarmed out of his base in Paktika province. “The only information I have is that a US soldier did go missing from his unit on June 30th. We’re exhausting all available resources to determine his whereabouts and bring him back safely,” said a liason officer. The deteriorating situation has forced President Obama to order 21,000 more troops to Afghanistan. By the end of the year, there will be 68,000 American soldiers in Afghanistan, double the figure of a year ago.