KABUL, (AFP) – Two US soldiers and six Afghan policemen were killed Monday in a string of Taliban-style bomb attacks in volatile southern Afghanistan on the eve of a major international conference, officials said.
The US soldiers operating under NATO’s International Security Assistance Force were killed in separate bomb attacks, ISAF said.
It did not give details of the attacks. An ISAF spokeswoman confirmed their nationalities.
Bombs known as improvised explosive devices (IEDs) are the weapon of choice for Taliban and other insurgents fighting Western and Afghan forces in an insurgency now almost nine years old.
The deaths bring to 380 the number of foreign soldiers to die in the Afghan war so far this year, according to an AFP tally. Last year 520 lost their lives fighting the insurgency.
Six Afghan police officers were killed and four wounded when another roadside bomb ripped through their vehicle in the Khakraiz district of Kandahar province, the Taliban’s southern heartland, an official said.
The officers had been on patrol, said Abdul Qayoum, the district governor.
Taliban spokesman Yousuf Ahmadi claimed responsibility for the attack in a telephone call from an undisclosed location.
The latest violence comes as the Afghan government prepares to host a major conference on Tuesday in Kabul, where President Hamid Karzai is expected to announce a deadline of 2014 for domestic forces to take over national security.
NATO and the United States have 143,000 troops in Afghanistan, set to peak at 150,000 in coming weeks as they take a US-led counter-insurgency to the insurgents’ southern strongholds in an effort to speed up an end to the war.