Kabul: Taliban attacks including a
suicide car bomb killed three international soldiers and as
many Afghans in the troubled country`s south, the alliance and
Afghan authorities said on Thursday.
The NATO-led soldiers were killed in separate
attacks -- two in homemade bomb explosions and the third in a
firefight with insurgents, NATO`s International Security
Assistance Force (ISAF) said in separate statements.
The latest deaths bring to 544 the number of
foreign soldiers to die in the Afghan war so far this year,
according to a news agency 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
In a separate incident also involving ISAF troops a
suicide bomber detonated a bomb-laden sedan near an alliance
convoy, killing three Afghan civilians nearby, Afghan
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 Islamists` regime
The war has gathered pace every passing year since
it was launched by remnants of the Taliban toppled from power
in a US-led invasion in 2001.
Commander of the foreign forces, US General David
Petraeus, said a combined Afghan-coalition force of around
7,000 troops was involved in a new push against the Taliban in
the southern city of Kandahar and its surrounds.
Operation Dragon Strike aimed to exert "substantial
additional pressure" on the insurgents, Petraeus told AFP this
It is the latest phase of Operation Hamkari,
concentrating on Kandahar and the surrounding areas of Zhari,
Panjawyi and Arghandab, which he said had been safe havens for
the Taliban for more than five years.
The coalition and Afghan forces have stepped up
attacks against insurgents since the start of the year. NATO
and US military commanders say the surge in deaths has been
because of the increased military operations in the troubled