News / Asia

Afghan Civilians Killed in Taliban Attack

NATO says five Afghan civilians, including two children, have been killed during an insurgent attack in southern Afghanistan.

The coalition says the civilians were killed Wednesday when Taliban militants fired on troops in the Nad Ali district of Helmand province.  At least nine people, including several children, were wounded when indirect fire from insurgents struck a nearby compound.

Elsewhere in Helmand, Afghan officials say a roadside bomb killed three Afghan police officers and wounded five others.

Another roadside bomb killed a NATO service member in the south Wednesday.  A second coalition soldier was killed in an insurgent attack in northern Afghanistan.  The alliance did not give details.  

This year has been the deadliest for foreign forces in Afghanistan since the start of the nine-year war.  The latest deaths bring the number of coalition soldiers killed this year to at least 609.

NATO also said Wednesday that Afghan and coalition forces killed "several insurgents" the day before, during an operation to detain a Taliban leader in Helmand.

Separately, the United States announced Wednesday it is expanding its embassy in Kabul.  The U.S. says the $511 million project will eventually employ 1,500 Afghan workers.  The project includes new buildings for offices and housing.

U.S. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry described the expansion as an example of the long-term U.S. commitment to Afghanistan.  He noted that hundreds of new civilian staff have begun working at the embassy.

The contract for the project has been awarded to an American firm, Caddell Construction.

Senior officials from Afghanistan and regional countries gathered in Istanbul, Turkey Wednesday for a conference focusing on rebuilding the war-torn country.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters. In an earlier version of this story, VOA incorrectly reported that a third NATO soldier was killed in an insurgent attack in the south.

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