Two NATO soldiers were killed in an attack in Afghanistan, military sources said on Sunday, ahead of a NATO summit in Chicago which is expected to draw up a unified exit strategy in Afghanistan after a decade of war.
“Two International Security Assistance Force service members died following an insurgent attack in southern Afghanistan today,” NATO’s International Security Assistance Force said in a statement, without giving further details.
Two children were also killed and several civilians were wounded in the suicide attack in Tirin Kot, capital of Uruzgan province, the provincial police chief told AFP.
“In a suicide attack against an ISAF convoy in Tirin Kot this morning two children were killed and several other civilians were wounded. There have been some casualties to ISAF troops too,” said General Matiullah Khan.
The attack came as NATO leaders gathered in Chicago for a summit which will be dominated by plans to pull some 130,000 alliance troops out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014.
It follows a rocket attack by Taliban insurgents on a NATO base in the eastern Afghan province of Kunar on Friday that killed two international soldiers and wounded six.
At least 162 ISAF troops have died in Afghanistan this year, according to an AFP count based on the the website icasualties.org. More than 3,000 have been killed since the U.S. led an invasion to topple the Taliban in late 2001.
It is the first summit of the 28-member North Atlantic Treaty Organization on U.S. soil in more than a decade, and follows a two-day summit of G8 leaders hosted by Obama in the seclusion of Camp David, Maryland.
Among the world leaders at the table will be Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who has headed up his country since the U.S. ousted the hardline Taliban Islamic leadership in late 2001.
Despite the stubborn Taliban insurgency, war-weary international forces are seeking to hand control of security to Afghan forces while withdrawing some 130,000 foreign combat troops by the end of 2014.
Karzai comes armed with a firm demand for $4.1 billion a year to fund his security forces after the pullout − fearing his country could descend into a new civil war.
The United States is expected to foot half the bill while hoping the international community will stump up the rest.
But analysts have warned NATO’s rush to extricate itself from the Afghan quagmire carries high risks to stability.
“The idea that the official transition timeline can generate even minimally conducive conditions on the Afghan ground -- that would substantiate claims that the transition strategy can succeed -- is a delusion,” wrote Barbara Stapleton, former deputy to the EU special representative for Afghanistan.