7 U.S. Troops Killed In 2 South Afghan Bomb Attacks

KABUL, Afghanistan — Seven American service members were killed Monday in two separate roadside bomb attacks in southern Afghanistan, NATO said. No details were given of the attacks, although eyewitnesses in the southern city of Kandahar said an armored U.S. Army Humvee hit a roadside bomb in the early afternoon. Several bodies were seen being removed from the vehicle, which was set on fire by the blast. The deaths bring to 14 the number of U.S. troops killed in action in eastern and southern Afghanistan over the past three days. A spike in U.S. troop numbers in Afghanistan to over 120,000 has brought increased contact with insurgents and a rising death toll. Forty-nine U.S. service members have died in Afghanistan this month, still fewer than the 66 killed in July. Later Monday evening, a pair of rockets were fired at the Kandahar offices of the United Nations mission in Afghanistan, said a police official who spoke anonymously because he was not authorized to speak to media. One fell short and slightly wounded a guard at the compound gate, while another missed entirely and landed in an empty field. To the east in Nangarhar province, the head of Lal Pur district, Syad Mohammad Palawan, was killed when a bomb planted on his vehicle exploded as he was driving into a government compound to attend a meeting of provincial security and political leaders, said police spokesman Ghafor Khan. Insurgents apparently planned for the bomb to explode inside the compound in the provincial capital Jalalabad where it could potentially have caused far greater destruction, Khan said. The attack followed a failed assault on two coalition bases in nearby Khost province Saturday, in which more than 30 insurgents were killed. The attacks indicate that militant activity is rising in parts of the east, as coalition forces focus resources on Kandahar and other Taliban strongholds in the south.