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5 NATO Soldiers Killed in Afghanistan

NATO says separate attacks have killed five of its service members in southern Afghanistan.

The coalition says three soldiers were killed in a bomb attack Thursday. Another service member was killed in a separate bombing. And an insurgent attack killed a fifth soldier. No other details were given.

This year has been the deadliest for international forces in Afghanistan since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion of the country. More than 530 foreign troops have been killed.

NATO commanders have said they expect heavy fighting as Afghan and NATO-led forces work to clear the southern city of Kandahar and surrounding districts of Taliban insurgents.

On Thursday, Afghan and NATO officials said a suicide bomber killed three civilians and wounded 12 others when he attacked a NATO convoy near the airport in Kandahar province.

Separately, the coalition said Thursday that four Afghan civilians were killed and three others wounded during a NATO operation the day before in Ghazni province.

NATO says the incident occurred after a joint Afghan and NATO force came under fire from insurgents in the Andar district on Wednesday. NATO says a helicopter fired to protect the troops, but instead accidentally struck unarmed civilians. The coalition expressed regret and condolences at the loss of civilian life.

Civilian casualties resulting from NATO operations have been a major source of tension between the Afghan government and members of the alliance.