The number of international troops killed in Afghanistan this year has passed 700. The death toll means it has been the deadliest 12 months for coalition forces since the conflict began in 2001. The figure includes 102 British servicemen who have died fighting the Taliban in 2010 just six fewer than the record 108 who were killed last year. A British bomb disposal expert from 23 Pioneer Regiment, The Royal Logistic Corps, was killed in southern Afghanistan yesterday, the Ministry of Defence said. Next of kin have been informed. Critics of the war will use the statistics as fresh evidence that British Prime Minister David Cameron should begin withdrawing UK troops before his planned 2014 deadline. The number of coalition forces killed fighting the Taliban in 2010 stood at 708 last night a third higher than last year when 521 died, according to the iCasualties website. It says 497 U.S. servicemen have died in 2010 as well as another 109 soldiers fighting with the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). An ISAF spokesman said: 'We have been saying there will be increased operations with the increase of troops and the increased focus on insurgent safe havens. We expected and continue to expect the enemy to fight back as we push into those areas and clear them. The figures were revealed just days after U.S. President Barack Obama said the war strategy was 'on track following a 'surge of 30,000 American troops, which took ISAFs strength to around 140,000. The coalition is fighting an increasingly deadly and expanding Taliban insurgency. A new United Nations report has showed that violence has worsened in 16 Afghan provinces in the past 12 months. Security in Helmand province in southern Afghanistan, where the overwhelming majority of Britains 9,500 troops are based, is still 'high-risk, said the secret document. Last month Britains Mark Sedwill, Natos representative in Afghanistan, warned that violence would reach 'eye-watering levels once foreign combat troops withdrew in four years. But General Sir David Richards, the head of the UKs Armed Forces, says the Taliban are taking a 'hammering. More than 3,200 insurgents including top-level commanders have been killed or captured in the past three months. (The Daily Mail)