Seven U.S. service members were killed on Saturday in one of the deadliest days for Americans in Afghanistan in recent months, as the Taliban continued attacks against foreign troops as part of their spring offensive, the Associated Press reported.
The renewed violence came as Afghan President Hamid Karzai acknowledged at a news conference that regular payments his government has received from the CIA for more than a decade would continue. Karzai also said that talks on a U.S.-Afghan bilateral security agreement to govern future American military presence in the country had been delayed because of conditions the Afghans were placing on the deal.
“Five International Security Assistance Force service members died following an improvised explosive device attack in southern Afghanistan today,” the coalition said in a statement issued in Kabul.
Later, the coalition reported that a soldier with the Afghan National Army turned his weapon on coalition troops in the west, killing two in the most recent of so-called insider attacks. Such attacks by members of the Afghan security forces against their fellow colleagues or international troops have eroded confidence in the Afghan forces as they work to take over from foreign forces.
The coalition did not disclose the location of the roadside bombing. However, Javeed Faisal, a spokesman for the governor of Kandahar province, said the coalition patrol hit the bomb in the Maiwand district of the province, the spiritual birthplace of the Taliban.
A NATO official said that all the soldiers killed were Americans.
The troops died in an improvised explosive device (IED) attack, NATO's ISAF confirmed in a statement.
The attack came four days after three British soldiers were killed in a similar attack in the neighboring province of Helmand.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility but Taliban militants frequently use roadside bombs against U.S.-led foreign troops and their Afghan allies.
Meanwhile, an Afghan soldier shot dead two soldiers serving with the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force on Saturday, officials said, in the latest “insider attack” to target the coalition, according to AFP.
“Two International Security Assistance Force service members were killed when an Afghan National Army soldier turned his weapon against ISAF service members in western Afghanistan today,” ISAF said in a statement.
In line with coalition policy, it did not disclose the nationalities of those who died.
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