Afghanistan: Two NATO Service Members Killed

KABUL, Afghanistan - An insurgent attack and a homemade bomb killed two NATO service members Wednesday in southern Afghanistan, the coalition said.

The deaths raised the number of coalition troops who have died in Afghanistan this year to 174. The coalition did not provide further details about the attacks.

Southern Afghanistan is the traditional heartland of the Taliban and has been the deadliest place for foreign forces since the Afghan war started in 2001. The U.S. poured tens of thousands of additional troops into the south in 2009 and 2010 in an attempt to reverse the Taliban's momentum.

While violence has fallen in some areas, frequent attacks still occur, posing a challenge for the U.S. as it attempts to hand over responsibility for security to Afghan forces and withdraw most of its combat troops by the end of 2014.

Elsewhere in Afghanistan, three district government employees were killed by a roadside bomb as they were traveling to work Wednesday morning in eastern Nangarhar province's Deh Bala district, said district chief Asrarullah.

Officials also said the Taliban attacked a hilltop police post in northern Badakhshan province's Warduj district late Tuesday, triggering heavy fighting that killed eight policemen and six militants, according to the provincial governor's spokesman, Abdul Maruf Rasikh. Two policemen and 11 militants were also wounded, he said.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement sent to reporters by the group's spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid.

Badakhshan province is relatively peaceful but has experienced periodic attacks. Two foreign doctors and their three Afghan colleagues were kidnapped last week in Badakhshan.

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