KABUL: Taliban attacks killed six international soldiers in the troubled country's south, the alliance and Afghan authorities said on Thursday, as the war drags on towards its 10th year.
Four Afghan civilians were also killed and three wounded during a Nato International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) operation to flush out the militants, the alliance said.
Three of the Nato-led soldiers were killed in a single improvised explosive bomb blast on Thursday, while the other three died in separate attacks.
The deaths bring to 547 the number of foreign soldiers to die in the Afghan war so far this year, according to an AFP tally based on that kept by the icasualties.org website. The 2009 toll was 521.
ISAF did not disclose the nationalities of the deceased soldiers but most troops deployed in the south, heartland of the Taliban insurgency, are American, Canadian and British.
ISAF said the civilians were killed and wounded during an operation in Andar district of Ghazni province, in the east, on Wednesday.
“The tragic incident occurred after combined Afghan and coalition forces came under effective small-arms fire from approximately eight insurgents,” an ISAF statement said.
“An air weapons team fired in an attempt to protect the Afghan-coalition troops from the insurgent attack, but instead accidentally struck a group of unarmed civilians, killing four and injuring three others.”
Rear Admiral Greg Smith, ISAF Director of Communication, said: “We deeply regret that our operation resulted in civilian loss of life and we express our sincerest condolences to the families.” The force is conducting a formal investigation.
In a separate incident also involving ISAF troops in the south, a suicide bomber detonated a bomb-laden sedan near an alliance convoy, killing three Afghan civilians nearby, Afghan officials said.
ISAF confirmed the attack and said none of its soldiers had been injured. The force said it had evacuated a dozen Afghans injured in the blast outside the troubled city of Kandahar, which was the capital of the Taliban's regime which ruled Afghanistan from 1996-2001.
NATO and the United States have more than 152,000 soldiers in Afghanistan fighting the insurgency, which has intensified to its most virulent since the regime was overthrown.
The war has gathered pace every year since it was launched by remnants of the Taliban toppled from power in a US-led invasion in 2001. -AFP
DAWN.COM | World | Six foreign soldiers killed in Afghan attacks