2 NATO troops killed in separate Afghan attacks

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KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The international force in Afghanistan says two of its troops have been killed in separate attacks.

NATO says an American was killed by an insurgent attack in eastern Afghanistan on Thursday. Another service member, whose nationality was not released, died after a roadside bomb attack in the south. No other details were available.

So far this month, 21 international troops have died in Afghanistan. Last month was the deadliest for foreign forces since the war began in 2001, with 103 killed, including 60 Americans.

Violence has been increasing across the country as the U.S. has poured in 30,000 more troops to try to reverse Taliban gains, improve security and build up the government of President Hamid Karzai.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A senior Afghan police intelligence chief was assassinated and his bodyguard killed near the capital, an official said Thursday, the latest government figure to be targeted as violence spirals in the country.

Elsewhere, the international security force said it had captured a suspected Taliban-linked supplier of bomb-making materials overnight in an eastern province, as the coalition steps up operations in the south and east, boosted by thousands of new American troops sent to try to turn around the nearly 9-year-old war.

Mohammad Gul, police intelligence director for western Kabul, was ambushed by gunmen Wednesday night as he returned home from his office, said the city’s criminal investigations chief, Abdul Ghfar Sayed Zada. One of his two bodyguards was also killed.

Gul was in charge of preventing terrorist attacks and tracking down suspected insurgents in the western quarter of the capital, Zada said.

Taliban and other insurgents often target Afghan officials to undermine government support and sow fear. More than 100 government figures were targeted last year, at least half of them killed.

In the eastern province of Khost, a combined Afghan-international force captured a suspected explosives supplier for the Haqqani network, a powerful militant group with links to both the Taliban and al-Qaida, NATO said in a statement.

The security force also arrested several other insurgents in Terayzai district, where they found a cache of automatic weapons, ammunition and grenades, the alliance said, adding that no shots were fired and no civilians were harmed.

International forces have stepped up offensive operations to fight the entrenched Taliban insurgency nine years after U.S.-backed forces toppled the Islamist movement’s hard-line government for sheltering the al-Qaida terrorist leaders. The war effort has been bolstered by 30,000 more American troops ordered to Afghanistan late last year by President Barack Obama.