Afghanistan: 3 NATO soldiers, 3 `civilians` killed
With Wednesday`s deaths, six foreign troops have lost lives so far in 2011.
Kabul: Three NATO-led troops were killed in separate attacks in Afghanistan on Wednesday, the force said, as residents of a restive province accused the alliance`s troops of killing Afghan civilians.
Two soldiers were killed in an improvised bomb explosion in eastern Afghanistan and a third died in a similar attack in the country`s south, NATO`s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said in statements.
With Wednesday`s deaths six foreign troops have lost their lives so far this year, following a record 711 who perished in 2010, according to independent website icasualties.org.
There are about 140,000 US-led international troops in Afghanistan fighting Taliban militants who have waged a bloody insurgency against Afghan and foreign forces since their ouster by a US-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001.
Also on Wednesday, dozens of tribesmen carrying the bodies of three men paraded through the southern town of Ghazni before gathering in a mosque, alleging that the victims were civilians killed by ISAF soldiers.
Sayed Amir Shah, the head of intelligence in the province, said at least one of the men "was definitely a civilian" and that the others also appeared to be non-combatants.
According to the locals, the incident took place in Nawar district.
"We know for sure that one of the dead was definitely civilian. From what we have found through investigations so far, we believe that the two others were also civilians," Shah said.
The angry tribesmen shouted "death to America" and called on the US military to apologise for "killing innocent civilians".
NATO`s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said its troops had killed "several insurgents" on Tuesday in the nearby Rashidan district.
An ISAF spokesman said the military was investigating the exact location of the killings reported in Nawar and whether it was the same as the Rashidan incident.
The spokesman insisted the men killed were insurgents and that coalition soldiers opened fire after they came under attack from rebels.
In a separate but unusual attack, Taliban-linked militants attacked a gas well in the gas-rich northern province of Jawzjan but were repelled, police said, adding that it caused no damage to the sensitive installations.
A police officer went missing following the attack near the town of Sheberghan, the capital of the gas-rich province, provincial police chief, Abdul Aziz Ghairat said.
"At around 11:00 pm (1730 AEDT) last night, a group of armed militants attacked the gas exploitation field in Jarq Duq area," the police commander said, referring to the site of several gas wells.
Security guards and police repelled the attackers, who were armed with rifles, Ghairat said.
While there have been thousands of military and civilian fatalities during the conflict, the insurgents have tended not to attack targets related to Afghanistan`s infrastructure.