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Three NATO soldiers, 20 Taliban killed in Afghanistan

world Updated: Oct 10, 2009 19:22 IST

DPA
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Three NATO soldiers were killed by roadside bombs in southern and eastern Afghanistan, while Afghan and international forces killed more than 20 militants, officials said on Saturday.

Two NATO-led International Security Assistance Force soldiers were killed in a roadside blast in the eastern region Friday, while a US soldier was killed in similar attack in southern Afghanistan the same day, the military alliance said in a statement.

It did not disclose the nationalities of the other two soldiers. French and Polish soldiers are stationed in the eastern provinces as part of more than 100,000 international troops in the country.

The Afghan defence ministry said its forces, backed by NATO troops, killed 21 Taliban militants in separate clashes in the southern and eastern provinces since Friday.

The clashes took place a day after a Taliban bomber targeted the Indian embassy in Kabul, killing 17 Afghans and wounding more than 60 others, including three Indian nationals guarding the fortified embassy compound.

Afghan government officials in Kabul claimed that the attack was orchestrated by elements from outside the country. The Afghan ambassador in Washington told US-based television channel PBS that Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) was behind the attack.

"We are pointing the finger at the Pakistan intelligence agency, based on the evidence on the ground and similar attacks taking place in Afghanistan," the envoy alleged in the interview, a transcript of which was sent to other media outlets by his office in Washington.

Afghan officials in the past had blamed some elements inside ISI for attacks in Afghanistan, but have refrained from such accusations since a new civilian government was formed in Pakistan.

The allegations by the senior diplomat could strain relations between the two key allies of the US government.