Ten NATO soldiers, seven of them Americans, were killed in separate attacks in eastern and southern Afghanistan Monday, as the alliance continues to battle Taliban militants.

NATO said that in the east, five service members - all Americans - died in a roadside bomb explosion, while another soldier was killed as a result of small-arms fire.

In southern Afghanistan, three NATO troops died in two separate bomb attacks, and the other one was killed in a firefight.

Also Monday, a U.S. police trainer and a Nepalese security guard were killed in a Taliban suicide attack on a police training center in the southern city of Kandahar.

U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley strongly condemned the attack.  He said Washington will continue to stand with its Afghan partners to fight terrorism and help the Afghan government provide security and prosperity to its people.

In other news, the United States is downplaying Afghan President Hamid Karzai's removal of two top security officials who had strong U.S. support.  

Defense Secretary Robert Gates called it an internal Afghan matter, but urged Mr. Karzai to name replacements of what he called "equal caliber."  

Mr. Karzai blames Interior Minister Hanif Atmar and intelligence chief Amrullah Saleh for security lapses in the failed Taliban attack on a national peace conference in Kabul last week.

Their removal Sunday took U.S. and other Western officials by surprise.  


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