Seven US troops, politician killed in Afghan attacks
KABUL Ã¢â‚¬â€ Seven US soldiers and an Afghan man running for the nation’s parliament have been killed in a wave of attacks this weekend in some of Afghanistan’s most volatile regions, authorities said Sunday.
About eight civilians and 15 militants were also killed in separate incidents linked to Taliban and counter-insurgency operations across the troubled nation on Saturday, the military alliance said.
Three US soldiers were killed fighting insurgents in two separate battles in eastern parts of the country on Saturday, the alliance’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said in a statement.
It was not known if they died in the same fighting in which the insurgents were killed.
Another two troops lost their lives in an improvised bomb attack in the country’s south on the same day, the force said, while two more were killed in separate attacks in the south on Sunday.
A military spokesman said that “all (the dead) were Americans”.
The troops are the latest in an escalating toll of casualties as the alliance fights a Taliban insurgency which had become increasingly deadly since the militants were ousted from power in a US-led invasion in late 2001.
The number of foreign troops killed in the Afghan war so far this year has now reached 472, compared with 521 who died during all of 2009, according to an AFP tally based on a count by www.icasualties.org.
The independent website tracks military deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq.
There are about 141,000 US and NATO troops deployed in Afghanistan to fight the insurgency and protect a US-backed government installed in Kabul following the overthrow of Taliban regime.
The hardline Islamist Taliban are trying to regain power through an insurgency they call a “holy war” which has gathered pace mainly in the south in the face of a troop “surge” by international forces.
In another attack on Saturday, local politician Abdul Manan, who was running for parliament in a nationwide election being held on September 18, was gunned down in the western province of Herat, an official said.
The finger of blame was pointed at the Taliban who Afghan officials say have been responsible for the deaths of two other parliamentary candidates since the election campaign was launched in early July.
ISAF also said eight Afghan civilians were killed in a wave of attacks on Saturday including a suicide bombing it blamed on Taliban-linked insurgents.
Fifteen other civilians were injured in six incidents, mostly in the south and east, the force said in a statement.
The ISAF force also said its troops backed by Afghan security forces battled Taliban-linked rebels in the province of Paktia late on Saturday, killing up to 15 insurgents.