Blast kills three NATO soldiers in Afghanistan

KABUL (Reuters) - Three soldiers from the NATO-led force were killed in a roadside bomb blast in eastern Afghanistan, the alliance said on Thursday, the latest foreign casualties in a week of rising violence.

The soldiers were in a vehicle when the improvised explosive device went off on Wednesday, the alliance said without identifying the victims. Most of the foreign troops in the eastern region are Americans.

The attack came two days after suspected Taliban insurgents killed 10 French troops to the east of capital, the biggest single loss of foreign forces in Afghan combat since Taliban’s overthrow in 2001.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who flew to the Afghan capital to pay respects to the dead soldiers, said troops must stay on to fight terrorism.

Separately, Afghan army commandos and U.S.-led coalition soldiers killed more than 30 militants with arms fire and close air support in eastern Laghman province, the U.S. military said in a statement on Thursday.

The militants were killed during an operation on Wednesday aimed at disrupting Taliban safe-havens and IED cells in the area, it said.

The Taliban could not be reached immediately for comment.

Afghanistan has seen a surge in violence this year as the hardline Islamist Taliban step up their campaign of guerrilla attacks, backed by suicide and roadside bombs to overthrow the pro-Western Afghan government and drive out foreign troops.