3 U.S. coalition troops killed in Afghanistan


KABUL, Afghanistan — A roadside bomb in western Afghanistan hit a U.S. coalition vehicle, killing three troops, while 18 Taliban fighters died in clashes elsewhere in the country, officials said Thursday.

In the southern Kandahar province, meanwhile, a bomb placed on a donkey hit a police vehicle patrolling west of the provincial capital on Thursday, killing an officer and wounding two other people, said Sadullah Khan, a police officer.

The bomb that struck the U.S. coalition vehicle Wednesday also wounded another coalition member, the U.S. military said in a statement. It did not provide the exact location of the attack or the nationalities of the victims. The majority of the coalition troops are American.

Taliban militants regularly target Afghan, U.S. and other foreign soldiers with roadside and suicide bombs in their campaign to weaken the government of President Hamid Karzai and its Western backers.

The number of insurgent attacks has risen 30 percent this year compared to 2007.

In southern Uruzgan province, a U.S. coalition airstrike killed 15 militants Wednesday, including a Taliban commander, another coalition statement said.

The militants were killed near a riverbed in Deh Rawood district, away from local villages, it said.

Three other militants were killed inside a cave in western Farah province’s Bala Buluk district during a raid Wednesday by American and Afghan troops, the U.S. military said.

More than 5,200 people – mostly militants – have died in insurgency-related violence this year, according to an Associated Press count of figures from Western and Afghan officials.