KABUL:The deaths of three Nato soldiers two on Sunday in Afghanistan to fight the Taliban-led insurgency have taken the toll for this year to 626.
Nato International Security Assistance Force said the soldiers whose nationalities were not revealed died following insurgent attacks in eastern Afghanistan.
One of the soldiers died on Saturday and two died on Sunday ISAF said in separate statements.
The AFP toll is based on a tally kept by the independent icasualties.org website. The total number of foreign soldiers killed in Afghanistan since the war began in late 2001 is 2,196.
Last year, 521 foreign troops died in the war.
Nato and the United States have more than 150,000 troops in the country fighting the Taliban-led insurgency.
The insurgency is concentrated in the southern provinces of Kandahar and neighbouring Helmand, regarded by the Taliban as their territory and where most of the world’s opium is produced.
The Helmand governor’s office said that an improvised explosive device – the IEDs that have become the hallmark of Taliban violence – killed five civilians on Sunday morning.
The device exploded when a car in which 11 people were travelling near the provincial capital of Lashkar Gah hit it, the office said in a statement, and four children were wounded in the blast.
The United Nations said in a report early this year that most Afghan civilian casualties are caused by the Taliban. The perception among ordinary Afghans however is that the foreign military presence is behind the violence.
The Taliban have expanded their tactics in recent months to include political assassinations, which have been heavily felt in Kandahar, where the movement was formed.
The latest victim was a senior officer at Kandahar jail, who was gunned down by assailants on motorbikes while out shopping, the spokesman for the provincial administration, Zalmay Ayoubi, said.
On November 4, the deputy head of the provincial adult literacy department was killed by unidentified gunmen, police said.
The wave of killings of government employees has made it almost impossible to fill civil service posts, creating a chasm in governance in Kandahar, residents have said.
One of the pivots of the counter-insurgency campaign currently underway in and around the city is following clearing operations – which push out the insurgents – with the establishment of civil services.
The bodies of five police officers who were seized last week by the Taliban in an attack on a remote district in Ghazni province have been found, an official said.
A spokesman for the governor of neighbouring Wardak province, Adam Khan Sirat, said the bodies had been found by security forces early Sunday.
The dead police officers were among a total of 19 who were kidnapped after insurgents stormed Khogyani district late last Sunday, seizing the local administration.
One was released and four were killed earlier, officials said. Nine were still unaccounted for.
Provincial governor Musa Khan Akbarzada said on Monday that the district had been retaken after a long and tough fight. — AFP