KABUL: Five foreign soldiers and three police officers were killed in Afghanistan on Sunday, while three civilians lost their lives in separate blasts caused by home-made devices, NATO and the government said.
NATO’s International Security Assistance Force also said that a child was was killed after being caught in the crossfire between troops and militants.
The five military deaths — three after an insurgent attack in eastern Afghanistan — and two in roadside bomb blasts in the south round off a bloody weekend for foreign forces after three soldiers were killed on Saturday.
A total of 641 foreign service personnel have now been killed in Afghanistan this year, according to an AFP count based on the independent icasualties.org website, which tracks coalition fatalities and injuries.
That compares with 521 killed in 2009 in what was previously the deadliest year on record for foreign forces in Afghanistan.
Improvised explosive devices account for the majority of coalition fatalities, although civilians are more often the victims of the bombs, according to the United Nations.
In a sign of the risks faced by Afghan police, three officers were killed and two others injured when their vehicle hit a roadside bomb in the Tarin Kot district of Uruzgan, the provincial governor Khudai Rahim said.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, said spokesman Khan Agha Miakhail.
Elsewhere, three civilians were killed and 20 others were wounded in home-made bomb blasts in eastern and southern Afghanistan, the government and local officials said.
One person died and nine others were wounded, including six children and two women, when a homemade bomb in a wheelbarrow went off in the eastern city of Jalalabad, Afghanistan’s interior ministry said.
The attack happened near a NATO military base where Taliban fighters launched a pre-dawn attack on Saturday. The assault was foiled and eight militants were killed, the alliance said.
Another two people were killed and 11 others injured when a motorcycle bomb exploded in Spin Boldak, near the Pakistan border in Kandahar province, which is the focus of the sweeping counter-insurgency drive against the Taliban.
The Kandahar provincial governor’s office said the bomb was intended for border police but no officer was injured.
The attacks happened after 10 people, including three children, were killed in a motorcycle bombing at a market in a remote area of Kunduz province in northern Afghanistan on Saturday.
A similar style bomb injured five in Kandahar city hours later.
ISAF announced later that two children were “inadvertently caught” in the crossfire when a joint Afghan National Army and NATO patrol came under attack in the Zhari district of Kandahar province.
“One was killed and one was wounded. The wounded child was medically evacuated to an ISAF medical facility,” a statement said.
“Our thoughts and concerns are with the families of this terrible accident,” added US Army Colonel Rafael Torres, director of ISAF Joint Command Combined Joint Operations Centre.
The hardline Islamist Taliban held power in Afghanistan from 1996 until 2001, when they were ousted in the US-led invasion after the September 11 attacks in the United States.
The number of ordinary Afghans killed in the conflict rose by a third in the first six months of 2010 to 1,271, with most deaths caused by insurgent attacks, the UN said in August.
From May to October 31, 768 civilians were killed in Afghanistan — 614 of them by militants and 69 by ISAF. Responsibility for the remainder was unclear, the coalition said in an email to AFP on Sunday.