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NATO Soldiers Killed In Afghanistan Attacks

ISAF spokesman General Gunter Katz (file photo)
KABUL-- Four foreigners have been killed in two separate attacks in Afghanistan.

General Gunter Katz, a spokesman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), confirmed the attacks, which took place on June 8.

"Today was a very difficult day for ISAF [the International Security Assistance Force]," he said. "We had two tragic incidents, one was in Farah in the west of Afghanistan where an Italian soldier died during an attack, and the second incident was in Paktika where three ISAF soldiers were killed by a guy who wore an ANA [Afghan National Army] uniform."

An ISAF statement on June 8 said that one of the three people killed in Paktika was a U.S. civilian. It said that one shooter was killed and another arrested after the attack. The statement added that ISAF and Afghan officials are investigating the incident.

Akbar Yaldash, the deputy Afghan military commander in the region told RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan that the foreigners were killed by an Afghan officer who was also killed by retaliatory fire.

Paktika provincial governor's spokesman said the three people killed were Americans.

The incident is the latest in a number of so-called "insider attacks" in which Afghan soldiers open fire on their NATO comrades. Such attacks have shaken trust and confidence between the two sides as Afghan forces assume more security responsibilities in the lead-up to NATO's withdrawal from the country in 2014.

At least eight Western soldiers and one U.S. contractor have been killed in insider attacks this year compared to 29 attacks last year, which resulted in the killing of 62 international troops.

Meanwhile, the Italian Defense Ministry said their soldier was killed when the armored vehicle he and his colleagues were traveling in was attacked "by enemy elements." The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack on the Italian troops.

The attacks follow a suicide truck-bombing on June 6 that killed seven Georgian soldiers in the southern Helmand Province.

Taliban insurgents have intensified attacks across Afghanistan during a crucial summer before the Afghan presidential vote early next year.

With reporting by Reuters, AP, and dpa