A roadside bomb killed two U.S.-led coalition soldiers Tuesday when it exploded near a military vehicle in eastern Afghanistan, a U.S. military spokeswoman said.
The vehicle was conducting security operations in Nangarhar province when the bomb exploded, said the spokeswoman, Lt. Khrysten Darm.
She said that two soldiers were killed and one soldier and an Afghan interpreter were wounded. She said she could not immediately disclose the nationalities of the soldiers.
The provincial police chief, Gen. Abdul Basir Salangi, said the attack targeted U.S. military vehicles. He said he did not have any casualty information.
Other outbreaks of violence
In a separate attack also in eastern Afghanistan, a suicide car bomb injured three American soldiers in a U.S.-led coalition convoy, U.S. and Afghan authorities said.
Two soldiers were taken to a medical facility, while the third had only minor injuries.
In a third incident in the same part of the country, explosives apparently being attached to a motorcycle in preparation for an attack detonated prematurely, killing three people and wounding seven, Afghan officials said.
Afghanistan has suffered a series of suicide bombings in the past 10 months, but most have been in southern provinces, where the Taliban are strongest, and not in the east.
The suicide car bomb in Khost province, 60 miles southeast of Kabul, exploded after the assailant approached the convoy from the opposite direction and maneuvered the car into the middle of the line of vehicles, according to information from Afghan and U.S. officials.
The province’s deputy police chief, Gen. Mohammed Zaman, said the blast was so powerful it melted the asphalt on the road. He said the attacker’s car was loaded with explosives and dozens of mortars.
Officials said the apparently accidental explosion went off in the courtyard of a religious school and mosque in Ghazni, about 70 miles southwest of Kabul.
The leader of the mosque was taken into police custody after the blast, Interior Ministry spokesman Yousuf Stanezai said.
Explosives apparently were being attached to a motorcycle in preparation for an attack at another location, said Abdul Wakil Kamyab, the province’s deputy police chief. He said nine people were wounded.
Stanezai said a motorcycle was found at the scene but that the investigation was still under way.
Major players talk coordination
Meanwhile, U.S., NATO, Pakistani and Afghan military officials met in Pakistan to discuss anti-terrorism efforts that include an ongoing operation targeting militants along the border region, as well as efforts to connect the four militaries to an intelligence database on insurgent activities there.
The U.S., Afghanistan and Pakistan meet regularly to coordinate efforts against militants, but Tuesday’s talks in Rawalpindi, near the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, were the first involving NATO, the Pakistani military said.
NATO is set to take over control of security in the south from U.S. forces next month. It plans to deploy double the number of troops the U.S. had in the region.
The border region has seen an upsurge in attacks by fighters from the ousted Taliban militia, and frequent attacks against Pakistani forces.
Afghan officials have repeatedly said that the Taliban stage attacks against Afghan and coalition forces from Pakistani territory, a charge Islamabad denies.
Pakistan says it has deployed 80,000 troops to the border.