Unknown gunmen killed 11 Pakistani Shia tribesmen in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday, while two international troop convoys came under attack in different parts of the country, officials said.
The Afghan army also said a commando unit working with international forces killed a Taliban operative and captured eight others in an overnight raid, though local villagers claimed the men were innocent civilians and threatened a large protest unless they were released.
Insurgent attacks and coalition raids have intensified across the country as 30,000 more American troops arrive to try to turn around the nine—year—old war against the Taliban and stabilize the Afghan government.
In the eastern border province of Paktia, gunmen opened fire on a minibus carrying Pakistani tribal people who had crossed into Afghanistan to buy supplies, according to Rohullah Samon, spokesman for the provincial governor.
Eleven Shia minority Muslim tribesmen died and three people, including a child, were wounded in the ambush in Chamkani district, Mr. Samon said. He added that provincial authorities were looking into who fired on the bus.
Elsewhere in Paktia, a combined Afghan—coalition commando force raided a compound in Ahmad Abad district overnight on Saturday, killing one person and arresting nine others, officials said.
The Ministry of Defense said the elite force had killed an insurgent operative and captured eight others with weapons. The ninth person arrested was determined to be a civilian and turned over to local authorities, a ministry statement said.
However, Mr. Samon complained that local authorities were not informed of the raid. He said villagers protested outside government offices Saturday, saying the dead man and those captured were innocent civilians. They promised a larger demonstration the next day if the eight prisoners were not released.
Combined coalition and Afghan forces have been stepping up night raids across the country trying to break up Taliban leadership and operations capability.
NATO says the new wave of raids has captured more than 100 senior— and midlevel Taliban figures since April and killed dozens more. But the success rate has not made much of a dent in insurgent attacks.
On Saturday, an explosion tore through a NATO convoy traveling in the eastern province of Khost, and another convoy of international troops came under attack in the northern province of Kunduz, officials said. The coalition said none of its troops were killed.
Local government spokesman Mubarez Zadran said a suicide car bomber struck the convoy as it rolled through Khost province’s Mando Zayi district. He said foreign troops quickly cordoned off the road.
NATO spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Katie Kendrick said that the Khost convoy apparently hit a roadside bomb. She said no casualties were reported.
Attackers also targeted a southern Afghan army base on Saturday morning, but the government said a would—be suicide bomber was shot dead and no soldiers were hurt. A Taliban spokesman claimed two bombers penetrated the base and killed more than a dozen Afghan and international forces.
Guards at the base gate in the Zabul province noticed a man approaching at about 7 a.m. and killed him, the Ministry of Defense said in a statement. It said the soldiers found the man was wearing a vest full of explosives and was carrying hand grenades and an AK—47 assault rifle.
Soon after, soldiers captured two other insurgents armed with another rifle and a rocket—propelled grenade launcher, the ministry said.
Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi, however, called reporters on Saturday and claimed that two suicide bombers entered the base and successfully detonated their vests, killing 17 Afghan and foreign troops.
The insurgents often exaggerate the success of their attacks for propaganda purposes.