KABUL, Afghanistan – Roadside bombs in southern Afghanistan on Sunday left seven NATO soldiers dead, the alliance said. At least six of the troops were Canadian.
It appeared to be the biggest combat loss for foreign troops in Afghanistan since 2005.
Six Canadian troops died and one was injured when one of the bombs struck their vehicle, the alliance said in a statement.
A separate roadside bomb killed one NATO soldier and wounded two, NATO said. Officials did not release the nationality of those soldiers.
The fatalities underline how virulent Afghanistan’s Taliban-led resistance remains, more than six years after a U.S.-led invasion drove the hardline militia from power for harboring al-Qaida.
The attack on the Canadians appeared to have inflicted the worst toll on foreign troops in a single combat incident since a U.S. helicopter crashed in Kunar in June 2005, after apparently being hit by a rocket-propelled grenade. Sixteen American troops died.
Separately, a purported spokesman for the Taliban said the kidnapped translator for an Italian journalist was beheaded on Sunday in southern Afghanistan. The Afghan government confirmed the death.
Ajmal Naqshbandi, a freelance journalist and translator, was kidnapped March 5 in southern Afghanistan along with journalist Daniele Mastrogiacomo and a driver. Mastrogiacomo was released March 19 in a much criticized swap for five Taliban militants.
The Taliban made a similar demand in return for Naqshbandi’s release.
“We asked for two Taliban commanders to be released in exchange for Ajmal Naqshbandi, but the government did not care for our demands,” said Shahabuddin Atal, who claimed to be a spokesman for regional Taliban commander Mullah Dadullah.
In the eastern Paktika province on Sunday, two Afghan guards were killed and five wounded during a four-hour firefight with Taliban militants near the border with Pakistan, according to the U.S.-led coalition, which is operating separately from the NATO-led force.