updated 10/17/2009 12:27:05 PM ET 2009-10-17T16:27:05

Bomb attacks killed three American troops in Afghanistan, while civilian casualties sparked a protest by a group of angry villagers who shouted "death of America."

Two American troops were killed in an explosion in the troubled nation's east on Friday, officials from the NATO-led coalition said. Another U.S. service member died the same day in a bombing in the south.

The coalition announced the deaths in a statement Saturday. No further details were released.

The deaths bring to 28 the number of American service members killed in Afghanistan this month, according to an Associated Press count.

Civilian causalities
The NATO-led force said a woman and a school-aged girl died during an operation by foreign and Afghan forces against suspected militants in the southeastern Ghazni province.

Civilian deaths, especially during operations by foreign forces, have infuriated Afghans and increased hostility toward the presence of international troops nearly eight years after the Taliban's fall in Afghanistan.

Reuters television images from the scene showed two bodies including that of a child lying on the floor of a house as a group of Afghans huddled together and cried over the bodies.

A group of 100 angry Afghans could be seen later in the day marching through a nearby village shouting "Death to America" and "Death to (President) Hamid Karzai."

Residents said house searches by troops looking for Taliban fighters have antagonized the local population.

"House searches, killings and beatings of civilians have become daily business," said one villager.

The NATO force said it was unclear if the militants or the joint force were responsible for the latest deaths.

Abdul Rahman Shaidaee, head of Ghazni's intelligence department, said according to his information four civilians were killed by international forces in the operation.

More than 1,500 civilians have been killed by violence in Afghanistan so far this year, according to the United Nations.

Protecting Afghans
It said in a report last month that 68 percent of the civilian killings were a result of militant attacks, while 23 percent were caused by Afghan and foreign troops led by NATO and the U.S. military.

U.S. Army General Stanley McChrystal, who took command of foreign forces in Afghanistan in June, has made protecting Afghan civilians the focal point of his strategy.

McChrystal's new orders also call for more rapid efforts to apologize and provide compensation if civilians are killed.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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