News / Asia

6 US Service Members Killed in Afghanistan

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NATO says six American service members have been killed in separate attacks in Afghanistan, on a day marked by violence across the country.

Four of the Americans died in separate incidents in the east involving small arms fire and an insurgent attack.  The other two died in separate roadside bombings in the south.

NATO says a suicide car bomber also struck one of its convoys in the eastern province of Khost, but no casualties were immediately reported.

Insurgent attacks have intensified across the country as international forces step up raids to root out Taliban militants. Last month was the deadliest for foreign troops, with 102 deaths.

Elsewhere Saturday, gunmen in the eastern Afghan border province of Paktia killed 11 Pakistani travelers who crossed into Afghan territory.  The victims were traveling in a small bus.

There was no immediate word on who carried out the attack, but some news reports say Afghan Taliban insurgents are suspected.

The Afghan Ministry of Defense said a would-be suicide bomber targeted an Afghan army post in southern Zabul province, but that soldiers shot and killed the man before he could detonate his explosives.

The ministry said a suicide vest, hand grenades and a rifle were recovered from the militant's body.  Two other suspects also were taken into custody.

Meanwhile, hundreds of protesters staged an anti-American protest in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif to demonstrate against mounting civilian deaths.  

Civilian casualties have been a sensitive issue between the Afghan government and the United States. The current rules of engagement urge coalition troops to minimize civilian casualties on the battlefield.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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