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Afghan Violence Kills 13 Civilians

KABUL — Thirteen Afghan civilians were killed in separate incidents across Afghanistan over the weekend as a result of Taliban insurgent attacks and NATO action, officials said Sunday.

Seven members of one family died when a roadside bomb ripped through a civilian vehicle in Yahyakhail district of eastern Paktika province on Saturday, provincial spokesman Mukhlis Afghan told AFP.

"Seven civilians including three children, all members of one family, were killed in the bomb blast," he said.

Also Saturday, three civilians were killed when NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) bombed a Taliban meeting in southern Helmand province, during an attack in which 17 militants also died, provincial police chief Abdul Hakim Angar told AFP.

"NATO bombed the Taliban location based on intelligence information," Angar said, adding that 17 Taliban and three civilians were killed and four civilians wounded.

He said that the Taliban had summoned seven local people to attend the meeting in the Dara-e-Hazara area.

Angar added there were four Taliban commanders among those killed, adding that the militants took the bodies of the four commanders and left the rest of the corpses.

Two Afghan civilians were accidentally killed Sunday by coalition forces after insurgents attacked an ISAF base in Logar Province, eastern Afghanistan.

The incident, being investigated by NATO, occurred when coalition forces returned fire following an attack by insurgents.

Following the engagement, ISAF servicemembers conducted a battlefield assessment during which they found that two civilians had been accidentally killed.

The force said it deeply regretted that the operation had resulted in the loss of civilian lives.

Meanwhile, US-led coalition forces said they had killed a child along with a suspected insurgent, and wounded a civilian man in the Shah Wali Kot district of southern Kandahar province Saturday.

The troops opened fire, "killed an Afghan adult male and inadvertently killed a child and wounded another adult", a statement from NATO's International Security Assistance Force said.

"The incident occurred when the patrol engaged a suspected insurgent who was perceived as about to fire a weapon," it said.

The wounded civilian was given immediate medical attention and was taken to a coalition forces hospital for further treatment, the statement said.

A recent UN report said about 20 percent of the roughly 1,300 civilians killed in the first half of the year lost their lives in NATO and other pro-government troops' actions, with most of the rest killed by militants.

Two foreign troops were also killed in separate incidents.

An ISAF soldier was killed Sunday morning in an insurgent attack in relatively peaceful northern Afghanistan, NATO said in a press statement.

Another ISAF soldier was killed by a roadside bomb in southern Afghanistan on Saturday, the force said.

So-called improvised explosive devices (IEDs) cause the majority of casualties among foreign and Afghan troops fighting the Taliban.

NATO did not release the nationalities of the two soldiers, but the total number of foreign troops killed so far this year now stands at 556 -- the deadliest on record -- according to an AFP tally based on the count kept by icasualties.org.

The United States and NATO allies have increased the number of foreign troops fighting the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan to more than 152,000.

US-led forces stepped up attacks on insurgents early this year as part of a new strategy aiming to root out Taliban militants before drawing down their military presence next year.

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