Two NATO troops killed in southern Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan — Two NATO soldiers were killed Sunday in an insurgent attack in southern Afghanistan, the Western military said in a statement.

The deaths took place as representatives of NATO nations and partner countries were gathering in Chicago for a major summit on Afghanistan. The war, which has lasted more than a decade, has claimed the lives of more than 3,000 Western troops.

The NATO force did not disclose the nationalities of those killed Sunday, or specify the location. But Afghan officials in the southern province of Uruzgan said a suicide bomber had struck as members of the NATO force were leaving a meeting with a district chief.

Farid Ayel, a spokesman for Uruzgan’s police chief, said the explosion killed at least two Western soldiers and injured four others. Six civilians, including five children, were injured, he said.

Most of the foreign troops serving in Uruzgan are Australians, with some Americans deployed there as well. The province, where insurgents are active in a number of districts, was on the list of areas designated last week by President Hamid Karzai for “transition” to security provided by the Afghan police and army, rather than the NATO force. The handover is expected to take some months.

The turning over of security responsibilities to the Afghan police and army is a key component of NATO’s exit strategy. In Chicago, leaders are expected to agree on expenditures for continuing to train the Afghan security forces after 2014, when the Western combat role is to end.

-- Laura King and Hashmat Baktash

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