Attacks kill 3 NATO personnel in south Afghanistan

AP News
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Posted: May 27, 2011 2:28 PM
Attacks kill 3 NATO personnel in south Afghanistan

Insurgent attacks killed three NATO service members Friday in southern Afghanistan, the military alliance said, as Taliban-led fighters pressed a spring offensive that began at the start of this month.

NATO gave few details beyond saying that two of the service members were killed in a bomb attack and the third in a separate insurgent attack. It did not immediately announce their nationalities.

Insurgents declared the start of a spring offensive on May 1 against NATO and the Afghan government. NATO has been expecting the Taliban to stage a series of spectacular and complex attacks, and the group has carried out a number of them.

On Thursday, two back-to-back blasts killed eight U.S. troops and two Afghan policemen on a foot patrol in southern Afghanistan. The second bomb detonated as troops rushed to aid those hurt in the first explosion, NATO said.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for that attack, which took place in the mountainous Shorabak district of Kandahar province. The area is close to the border with Pakistan.

As of Friday, 42 international service members have been killed this month. This year, 193 coalition troops have died in Afghanistan.

The effectiveness of the Taliban's spring campaign, code-named Badr after one of the Prophet Muhammad's decisive military victories, could affect the size of President Barack Obama's planned drawdown of U.S. troops in July.

Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, has said the size of the withdrawal will depend on conditions on the ground.

The alliance has committed itself to handing over control of security in the country to Afghans by 2014.

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Associated Press writer Jon Gambrell contributed to this report.