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Two NATO soldiers killed in Afghan base attack

Two NATO soldiers were killed and six others wounded on Sunday in an attack on the main military base for US-led forces in Afghanistan, the US-led coalition force said.

world Updated: Jun 21, 2009 19:40 IST

Two NATO soldiers were killed and six others wounded on Sunday in an attack on the main military base for US-led forces in Afghanistan, the US-led coalition force said.

The force and Afghan authorities also reported that several people including civilians were killed in further bloodshed across the insurgency-hit country.

The troopers from NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) were killed in an assault on Bagram Air Field, the war-torn country's main military base for US-led forces, ISAF said in a statement.

Six other troopers were wounded in the attack, it added.

The statement did not give further details but said the casualties were caused during "an indirect fire attack" -- a term that generally refers to rocket, artillery or mortar attacks.

No one has immediately taken responsibility but almost all violence against Afghan and foreign forces is claimed by Taliban insurgents who were ousted from power by a US-led offensive in late 2001.

"On behalf of ISAF, I share our grief and extend our support to the loved ones of these service members," said ISAF spokesman Brigadier-General Richard Blanchette.

ISAF does not release the nationality of its casualties, leaving the job for their home countries.

There are close to 90,000 foreign, mainly Western, forces based in Afghanistan fighting an increasingly bloody insurgency being waged by the Taliban.

The frequency of attacks by Taliban militants has increased to record highs in recent weeks, highlighting the threat posed to the country's presidential elections set for August 20.

The latest casualties take to six the number of foreign soldiers killed in Afghanistan in the past three days.

There was further violence elsewhere, as a provincial governor said three civilians died and another 11 were wounded in a crossfire between Taliban militants and Afghan and international forces in Kunar Saturday night.

The militants attacked a joint Afghan army and foreign forces base in Manugay district which sparked an exchange of fire, provincial governor Fazlullah Wahidi told AFP.

"Three civilians have been killed and another 11 have been wounded in the incident," Wahidi said, adding that most of the casualties were women and children.

The ISAF said later that another civilian died in hospital from injuries he sustained in the incident.

Elsewhere, eight people were killed when their vehicle hit a roadside bomb in Arghandab district of the neighbouring Zabul province Saturday, Ghulam Jailani Farahi, provincial deputy police chief said.

They had been returning from the funeral of a local Taliban commander known as Hekmatullah. The interior ministry confirmed the incident, adding that the victims were civilians.

"A total of eight people were killed in this blast including Hekmatullah's father and mother," Farahi said.

And on Sunday in southern Ghazni province a bomb struck a mini van, killing one civilian and wounding two others, the Afghan interior ministry said.

Afghan and international forces have intensified efforts to push back the rebels from their strongholds mainly in southern and eastern Afghanistan to secure the August polls.

The Taliban are trying to topple the US-backed administration of President Hamid Karzai and oust the foreign forces from Afghanistan.

They have recently stepped-up their activities, staging guerrilla-style attacks which mainly include roadside bombs and hit-and-ran ambushes.