March 11, 2010 / 1:56 PM / 10 years ago

Six Afghans, South African die in Afghan violence

KABUL (Reuters) - Five Afghan civilians, four of them children, were killed in an explosion Thursday, and gunmen shot dead a South African construction contractor and his Afghan colleague in a separate attack, officials said.

One member of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) was also killed in an explosion in the south of the country, the force said, without identifying the victim’s nationality.

Violence has surged in recent years as the Taliban made a comeback, reaching its highest levels since the Islamist militants were ousted by U.S.-backed Afghan forces in late 2001.

Record numbers of civilians and Afghan and foreign troops have been killed.

Washington has begun sending an extra 30,000 troops to join about 115,000 foreign troops, most of them American, already in Afghanistan in an attempt to reverse the growing momentum of the Taliban insurgency.

The blast that killed the civilians struck in Kapisa province, to the northeast of Kabul, ISAF said in a statement.

Three other children were also wounded, the alliance said. It did not give details about the type of explosion, saying it was caused by insurgents who are fighting the Afghan government and foreign troops.

The South African and one of his Afghan colleagues, both employees of an Indian road construction firm, were killed by armed men in a southeastern area, said Sakhi Jan, an Afghan commander providing security for the firm.

An Indian and an Afghan worker from the company were wounded in the attack, which took place on a project site in Khost province, close to the border with Pakistan.

Reporting by Sayed Salahuddin and Peter Graff; Editing by Alex Richardson

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