South Asia

Five US soldiers killed in Afghanistan attacks

US soldiers in Arghandab District, north of Kandahar. File pic
Image caption June was the worst month for coalition casualties since 2001

Five US soldiers have been killed in separate incidents of violence in Afghanistan, Nato has said.

Three died in east Afghanistan and two were killed in separate roadside bombings in the south. A sixth American died in an accidental explosion.

More than 350 Nato soldiers have been killed this year.

In other violence, gunmen killed 11 Pakistani Shia tribesmen in the east and one person was killed by a motorbike bomb in Kandahar.

Also on Saturday, hundreds of Afghans took to the streets of the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif in protest at increasing civilian deaths.

Rising trend

Nato said the three separate incidents in the east were small-arms fire, a home-made bomb attack and an "insurgent attack" that was not specified.

Image caption A protest over civilian deaths took place in Mazar-i-Sharif on Saturday

The two separate attacks in the south were with improvised explosive devices, or IEDs.

The accidental explosion took place in the east.

The deaths add to the rising trend of casualties for Nato's International Security Assistance Force. June was the worst month for foreign troop deaths since the US-led invasion in late 2001.

In the east of the country, 11 Pakistani Shia tribesmen were killed when gunmen opened fire on their bus, which had taken a detour into Afghanistan to avoid a dangerous route in Pakistan.

Buses have been taking the lengthy detours fore the past few years to avoid the direct Kurram to Peshawar route.

In Kandahar, a civilian was killed as he drove his car past the motorbike as the bomb planted on it exploded. The blast set cars on fire and damaged a shopping centre.

In Mazar-i-Sharif, demonstrators marched to protest against the killing of two civilians by US troops on Wednesday.

The new US commander of Nato forces, Gen David Petraeus, has stressed he remains committed to the policy of his predecessor in trying to reduce civilian casualties, a continuing point of contention between the international forces and the Afghan government.

Five Afghan soldiers were accidentally killed in a Nato helicopter air strike on Wednesday.