3 American troops killed in southern Afghanistan
|Afghans play drums as others carry posters of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who is also a presidential candidate in the upcoming election in Jalalabad, Nangarhar province, east of Kabul, Afghanistan on Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2009. Afghans will head to the polls on Aug. 20 to elect the new president for the second time in the country's history.|
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AP) -- Clashes with insurgents killed three American troops in southern Afghanistan, where roadside bombs also killed nine civilians, officials said Tuesday.
A Polish soldier, 22 Taliban insurgents and two Afghan soldiers also died in violence nine days ahead of the country's second-ever presidential election. A record number of U.S. and NATO troops are working to protect the country ahead of the Aug. 20 vote, which Taliban militants have vowed to disrupt.
NATO said the Americans died in separate "hostile fire incidents." It did not disclose the exact location of the attacks. The first died of wounds suffered in an incident that occurred Saturday, another died Sunday and the third died Monday, a NATO statement said
At least 27 foreign troops, including 18 Americans, have died in August, a record pace, according to an Associated Press count. July, when 75 troops died, was the deadliest month in Afghanistan for U.S. and NATO forces since the 2001 U.S. invasion. Forty-four Americans died last month.
Militants have greatly increased their use of roadside bombs, which have killed dozens of troops this year. Two such bombs struck two civilian vehicles in southern Afghanistan early Tuesday, killing nine people and wounding five others in two districts of Kandahar.
In Zhari district, nine people, including two women, were killed when the bomb ripped through their vehicle, said Daud Farhad, a doctor at Kandahar's Mirwais hospital. Five civilians were wounded when their vehicle hit a bomb in Dand district, said Naziq Khan, a local official.
A recent U.N. report said insurgent suicide attacks and roadside bombings claimed more civilian lives "than any other tactic used by the parties to the conflict" and were launched "in violation of the relevant principles of international law." At least 1,013 civilians were killed in the first six months of this year compared with 818 for the same period in 2008 - an increase of 24 percent.
On Monday, meanwhile, Polish Capt. Daniel Ambrozinski, 32, disappeared after his foot patrol of about 50 Afghan and Polish troops came under fire, Poland's Defense Ministry said. His body was found early Tuesday in Ajristan, in the eastern province of Ghazni.
Four other Polish troops were wounded. Ambrozinski was the 10th Polish soldier killed in Afghanistan since March 2002.
Afghan officials said clashes and airstrikes in the south of the country had killed nearly two dozen Taliban fighters. Southern Afghanistan is the center of the Taliban-led insurgency, where thousands of additional U.S. troops have joined the fight to try to reverse militants' recent gains.
Twelve insurgents died in airstrikes and clashes with Afghan and Western forces in an area on the border of Ghazni and Zabul provinces, said Wazir Khan, a local official. The militants were killed late Monday inside a compound, Khan said.
Also in Zabul, a roadside bomb killed two Afghan soldiers and wounded three others, said Lt. Gen. Sher Mohammad Zazai, the army commander for southern Afghanistan.
Ten Taliban were killed in Uruzgan on Monday night in a fight with Afghan and foreign troops, none of whom were killed, Zazai said.