Afghan official, 2 NATO troops die in attacks

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Gunmen in northern Afghanistan assassinated a district intelligence chief while he was on his way to work Monday as authorities in Romania said two of their soldiers serving with NATO died in a roadside bombing in the east.

In the north, attackers ambushed the district official, Abdul Hussian, and sprayed his body with bullets as he was riding on his motorcycle near the city of Kunduz, the capital of the province with the same name, according to local police chief, Ghulam Mohayuddin.

Hussian, who was heading to his work in Chardara district died of his wounds, said the police chief. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, and Mohayuddin said an investigation was underway.

The Taliban have been behind scores of similar attacks, especially since they stepped up assaults on officials and government employees during their spring offensive this year.

In Bucharest, the defense ministry said two Romanian soldiers died after stepping on an improvised explosive device during a patrol in eastern Afghanistan on Sunday. The two were transported by helicopter to a military hospital at Bagram where they died of their injuries later in the day.

Defense Minister Mircea Dusa said in televised comments Monday that other soldiers were killed in the explosion but provided no further details. The two Romanians were identified as Vasile Popa, 28, on his second mission to Afghanistan, and Adrian Postelnicu, 34, who was on his first mission.

Romania has 1,029 troops serving in the NATO mission in Afghanistan; 22 have been killed.

In Kabul, NATO only said that a roadside bombing killed two international service members in the east on Sunday but gave no details on their nationality or mention any other troops dying in the attack.

This incident brings the number of NATO troops killed this month to seven, while 122 have been killed so far this year, 92 of them U.S. soldiers.

On Saturday, three American soldiers were killed by an Afghan wearing a security forces uniform after he turned his weapon against them in Paktia province, another apparent attack by a member of the Afghan forces against their international allies.

Killings by uniformed Afghans of foreign soldiers and civilians rose dramatically last year, when the so-called insider attacks left 62 personnel dead in 47 separate incidents, compared to 35 killed in 21 attacks a year earlier, according to NATO. So far in 2013, 11 foreign soldiers have been killed in seven such attacks, including Saturday’s, according to an Associated Press count.

The attacks come as NATO and Afghan forces are in more intimate contact, with foreign troops handing over security to the Afghans and continuing to train them prior to an almost total withdrawal by the end of 2014.

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Associated Press writer Amir Shah contributed to this report in Kabul.

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