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Three NATO troops killed by roadside bomb blast

Three NATO troops were killed by a roadside blast from an improvised explosive device in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday, an alliance spokesman said.

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AFP - Three troops from the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) were killed by a roadside bomb in eastern Afghanistan Saturday, officials said.

ISAF did not say which country the dead troops were from or give further details of the incident, in line with policy.

There are around 140,000 international troops in Afghanistan fighting a Taliban-led insurgency, 100,000 of them from the United States.

"Three International Security Assistance Force members died following an improvised explosive device attack in eastern Afghanistan today," a spokesman for the NATO-led ISAF said.

Many of the decade-long Afghan war's worst fighting takes place in eastern Afghanistan, which is close to the border with Pakistan.

Pakistan closed its supply routes to NATO forces in Afghanistan after 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed by a NATO air strike last Saturday close to the mountainous, porous border, provoking a major diplomatic row between Islamabad and Washington.

The latest incident takes to 542 the number of coalition troops killed in Afghanistan this year, according to an AFP tally based on that kept by independent website iCasualties.org.

A total of 711 foreign troops were killed in Afghanistan last year, the highest annual total yet in the decade-long war triggered by a US-led invasion in 2001 which ousted the Taliban from power.

Amid declining support for the war and fragile economies in the West, all foreign combat troops are due to withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of 2014, by which time Afghan forces and officials are set to be in control of the country.

However, a substantial foreign troop mission training Afghan security forces is expected to remain beyond that time.

A major international conference on the future of Afghanistan takes place in the German city of Bonn Monday.

The meeting is set to discuss the process of transition from foreign to Afghan control of the country, the international community's long-term role in Afghanistan and badly stalled efforts to promote reconciliation with insurgents.

But the event is set to be clouded by the absence of Pakistan, which is boycotting it in protest at the NATO air strike which killed its soldiers.
 

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