KABUL — A bomb struck a NATO convoy in eastern Afghanistan today, killing two soldiers and wounding one, a spokesman for the alliance said.
Police spokesman Wazir Pacha said the attack in Khost province was carried out by a suicide bomber in a vehicle. But the NATO spokesman blamed the attack on a roadside bomb.
The majority of NATO troops in Khost, which border Pakistan, are American, though the spokesman for NATO’s International Security Assistance Force would not confirm the troops’ nationalities. The spokesman asked not to be identified because he was not the media office’s lead spokesman.
Taliban bomb attacks have risen sharply over the last three years as the militant force has intensified its insurgency campaign against U.S. and NATO troops.
U.S. military leaders have said they plan to send up to 30,000 more troops to the country over the next year to reinforce the 33,000 American forces already in the country.
But, as the new U.S. administration prepares to increase American attention on Afghanistan, Spain said today it had no plans to raise its troop levels there, despite calls from President Barack Obama for a renewed commitment to fight the resurgent Taliban.
“We don’t plan for the moment to increase our military presence in Afghanistan,” Spain’s foreign minister, Miguel Angel Moratinos, told journalists.
Spain already has 800 troops stationed in Afghanistan, mostly in the relatively peaceful western part of the country, part of a 55,000-strong NATO contingent.
The top Spanish diplomat said his country had not yet received a formal request for more troops from Washington, and he left open the possibility that it would study such a request if one came.
But he left little doubt that his country is hesitant about an increased military commitment.
“For the time being, our position is to say what our own analysis is,” Moratinos said. “And that is that the answer is not to increase our military presence. The military presence has been increasing every year, and the situation has only gotten worse.”